The new unit, where rescued seals recover from injuries and illnesses, includes heat lamps and insulation and will improve the chances of rescued seals surviving and being released successfully.
The unit and sanctuary staff have already been busy caring for young, orphaned seals that have lost their mothers.
Pete feeding fish to seal pups in outdoor pool
Other threats to seals include an increase in the number being treated for injuries from lost fishing nets and lines, known as ghost gear, which can entangle the animals and cut into their skin as they grow.
The original seal unit at Hillswick was built in a hurry in 1993 to house seals affected by a devastating oil spill. It has been treating sick, injured and abandoned seals since and the new improvements will ensure the seals are given the best chances of survival.
As well as heating and insulation the unit features energy efficient equipment that will lower the cost of maintaining the best environment for seals.
Jan and Pete, Founders of Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary said, “Thanks to the support of World Animal Protection we can keep going rescuing and saving seals and other marine animals.
“We see seals with horrific injuries from ghost gear and other illnesses and the new seal unit will allow us to rescue and rehabilitate more seals for years to come.”
See below for the latest news direct from the Shetland sanctuary:
Peter Kemple Hardy, World Animal Protection campaigns manager said, “Jan and Pete have been doing some excellent work over the years caring for the beautiful wildlife in the Shetland Islands and we are delighted to support them.
“Ghost gear is increasingly a threat, especially to seals because of their playful and inquisitive nature, but we hope the great work on the ground from people such as Jan and Pete will make a difference and help stop their unnecessary suffering.”
World Animal Protection also provided a quad bike and trailer for Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014 which enables them to rescue the seals from the beach and bring them back to the sanctuary for rehabilitation.
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