As Shetland’s only wildlife sanctuary, we have been caring for sick, injured and abandoned seals and otters since 1987, successfully rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of creatures back into the wild.We also help coordinate the rescue of stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises around Shetland’s 1,700 mile long coastline.
We rely on donations to continue our work… your support is greatly appreciated.
Stroodle the grey seal pup from Scousburgh Sands who lost his scalp from an infection caused, we believe, by bird pecks, continues with his miraculous recovery. He seems unconcerned these days about the huge wound on his head, which seems to be healing well and to our amazement appears to be slowly shrinking. Now all he cares about is eating as much fish as he possibly can, which is the best sign that we could have hoped for. Long may his recovery continue. Many thanks to wildlife vet Romain Pizzi for his sage advice that gave us the confidence to continue with Stroodle's care.
The lovely Lulu from St Ninian's Isle is getting plumper by the day. She is such a short wee seal that she just gets rounder and rounder. She's a bit frustrated having to be stuck in one the smaller isolation pools because of her seal pox, but we want to protect the others from getting this highly infectious condition. Not that it's causing Lulu any worries - she just wants more space (and fish!). Not long to go now before she can get out to the freedom of the ocean where she will have all the space she could ever want.
WARNING: GRAPHIC WOUND IMAGES.
The magnificent grey seal pup Stroodle never ceases to amaze us. A week ago we were shocked to the core when his entire scalp of skin simply slid off his head while we were feeding him. We were horrified and honestly thought this would mean curtains for Stroodle. However after consulting with our favourite vet Romain Pizzi we were given hope that this was not a case of gangrene or necrosis that would mean he would have to be euthanised. So we braced ourselves to continue working with him over the past week until he finished his 10 day course of antibiotics. At first he was just furious and fearful, but we persisted. Then three days ago he started showing signs of eating independently. Now we can hardly keep up with his appetite! The horrific wound on his head has started to heal and now that he no longer needs medication, we no longer need to straddle Stroodle to force a fish with a pill in its gills down his throat, which is a huge relief for both him and us. As long as we keep his wound clean he should continue to heal, though we have been warned this could take quite a long time. All we can assume is that the original wounds, probably caused by birds, became infected and the infection spread and undermined his skin. So hopefully he is now on the road to recovery. He must be just about the most courageous young seal we have ever had the privilege of dealing with. Thankyou everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers since the last post about him. We have no doubt whatsoever that they have helped with his healing.
The incredible grey seal pup Stroodle, rescued from the storms off Scousburgh Sands last weekend, is really struggling against some terrible wounds to his head. What started out as a few relatively small splits in his skin, which we thought had been caused by bird pecks, have joined up to create huge cracks right across his head. He is astonishingly courageous and full of determination, but so far the wounds are not showing any real signs of healing up. We have been assured by vets that he should eventually recover, however it is likely to take quite some time. For the moment he is on a course of antibiotics and we have moved him into the paddling pool zone where he can swim and clean up the wounds, washing off any dead matter. It is heartbreaking to have to handle him when he is in such pain and discomfort, but we have no choice. And his spirit is strong so he clearly intends to give it all he's got. Here's hoping!
The big day arrived today for Boots and Dotty who both came to the sanctuary after a trip from Orkney on NorthLink Ferries after being rescued and kept overnight by the local British Divers Marine Life Rescue volunteers. Since then they have grown from being skinny seal pups to great big blubber balls who had put on so much weight by the time of their release that it felt like a serious work out carrying them from the sanctuary's salt water pool to the sea (which is why we employed the quad bike). It could not have been a more beautiful day of sunshine and snow for the great occasion...and when their moment of freedom finally came, neither seal hesitated - though Boots did head in the wrong direction for a moment and start going inland instead of out to sea. But it wasn't long before they were out of sight and perhaps even swimming back to the Orkney islands where they were born. Go wild girls, go free!
The beautiful peerie selkie Lulu who was rescued from St Ninian's Isle last month has had to move outside into a separate pool to be quarantined as she has developed seal pox. There is only a single blister right in the middle of her chest, but as the virus (related to the herpes virus) is so infectious we must keep her apart from our other residents. However the tiny seal pup is quite happy in her new pool on her own tearing up fish to her heart's content. Chances are she'll have to stay isolated until we release her, but we'll wait and see. There is no treatment for seal pox, it has to be allowed to run its course and as you can see, it's not debilitating Lulu in any way. We just need to protect the other seals.
Our handsome grey seal pup Skye who washed up on Sumburgh's West Voe beach in the fierce storms 11 days ago has been struggling with his injuries. We were worried he would be unable to use his front right flipper, but he has gained some flexibility in it over the past few days. The swelling on his rear flipper has also reduced and as a result he is in less pain and has come much more to life, climbing in and out of his pool and gulping down fish like they are going out of fashion. We'll be able to put him outside in the big pool when the snow departs, when he will really be able to get fat and fit before heading back to the ocean waves and the wild life where he belongs.
We are quite concerned about our new arrival Stroodle, rescued from Scousburgh Sands yesterday. He has clearly been battered by the recent storms, but now he has been cleaned up a bit and had a chance to rest we see his head is covered in quite nasty wounds. Whether this is from bird pecks or his head has been bashed on rocks or he's been the victim of some kind of attack, we will never know. The strange thing is that the wounds are only on his head. He is now on antibiotics and we are bathing the wounds with salt water. Lulu was covered in similar wounds, though not as severe as this and they were all over her body. She made a swift recovery, so we can only hope that Stroodle does the same. He is a fierce young selkie, so there is plenty of fighting spirit in there to help him recover. He'll need all he can get.
Shetland's marine wildlife has been struggling with the powerful storms we have been experiencing for the past week. Several cetaceans have been washed up on local beaches, and today we received our second victim of the huge sea swells. Sam Adamson was braving the weather with her children this morning when they found this seal pup high on Scousburgh Sands in the South Mainland. However the pup went back into the sea while they were watching it. Then we received a message from Eunice Isbister who found the seal washed up again. So we called Siân Graham from the Scottish SPCA who drove down and collected it for us. Battered and bruised, very thin and with a head covered in wounds, possibly from bird pecks, the seal is now resting and recuperating. Sam's one year old son chose the name Stroodle! He is a young male who hopefully has not been too badly hurt by his experience and will make a full recovery. Many thanks to Sam, Eunice and Siân for all their help in today's tough conditions and for our precious wildlife.
If you would like to join the kind folk who support our work caring for Shetland's seals and otters, please visit https://www.hillswickwildlifesanctuary.org/donate/ Thankyou one and all for all your love and support.
Early this morning we received a call from Matt Hyde from Dunrossness who had found a young seal in trouble on the West Voe beach at Sumburgh while he was walking his dogs. We called John Moncrieff Photography to investigate as he was working nearby, but by the time he got there the seal had disappeared back into the sea. We suspected the seal had hauled out to rest from the rough seas we have been experiencing in these parts of late, but this afternoon Katrina called to say the seal was back on the beach, looking thin and short of breath. Debbie from Scottish SPCA was good enough to drive down to Sumburgh and catch the seal for us, and we met her in Voe to bring him north to Hillswick. He is a big, black and beautiful boy, weighing in at 26kgs, but he's thin, he's tired and he's wheezing so will need some treatment, probably for lungworm, and then fattening up before heading back to the wild. But for now...it's rest and warmth for Skye, the name Matt chose as he was the one who first reported him.
We rely on the kind and generous people who support Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary to do this work for Shetland's seals and otters. If you would like to join them, please go to https://www.hillswickwildlifesanctuary.org/donate/ Thankyou for being on board.