FOUR seals have been flown to Shetland to be cared for after a wildlife rescue centre’s water treatment plant broke down, leaving it unable to care for them.  

The Scottish SPCA has launched an urgent appeal for donations in the hope that they can raise money to replace the plant at its National Wildfire Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Clackmannanshire.  

The charity has said that equipment that pumps clean water to pools at the centre has broken down which means the seals, waterfowl and seabirds they look after will no longer be able to receive the best level of care possible.  

Four seals were flown to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary in Shetland on Tuesday with the help of AKKI Aviation and Inverness Airport. 

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Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary founder Jan Bevington said: “When the Scottish SPCA called asking could we help with the care of their common seal pups, there was no hesitation on our part.  

“The Scottish SPCA has helped us invaluably over the years and we are only too happy to return the favour.  

“We love nothing better than collaborating with other animal welfare organisations. In these times, wildlife needs us all to work together on their behalf.” 

A team of wildlife rehab experts also travelled with the seals on the plane journey to Shetland.  

Bevington added: “It just so happens that, for the first time in the sanctuary’s 35-year history, we have had no common seal pups brought in from around Shetland’s coast this year, which has been a source of concern to us, but it means we have plenty of room for our new visitors.” 

The Scottish SPCA said it will cost more than £600,000 to replace the water filtration system and urged people to donate via its website.  

Manager of the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre Chris Hogsden said: “Another five seals remain in our care while an alternative site for treatment is sought.  

“In addition to the seals, we also have hundreds of seabirds and waterfowl on site who came in to our care before the current bird flu restrictions and are waiting to be released.” 

Avian flu has been a major concern in Scotland recently, with NatureScot recently calling for public landings on 23 islands to cease until things got better.  

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One charity in Islay was forced to take more than 3000 birds to a landfill site after they washed up on the beach.  

Hogsden continued: “We cannot stress enough how vital this water treatment plant is for us to be able to continue our work rescuing and rehabilitating Scotland’s wildlife.  

“We know times are tough for everyone and we do need to raise a large sum of money, but even the smallest donation will help towards our target.  

“We’d be so grateful for anything members of the public can spare, and we know Scotland’s wildlife will be too.”