Our main goal over the next 3 years is to enhance the sanctuary facilities. Whilst unspoilt in many ways the Shetland area is a major centre of the Scottish oil industry, with an oil terminal based in nearby Sullom Voe. With new oil and gas exploration taking place west of Shetland it is imperative that we, as the only sanctuary on Shetland, can provide care for marine mammals in the event of a major pollution incident. Our focus is to ‘future-proof’ the sanctuary for the next 20 years.
Alongside this, we will be extending and developing our work to educate and help people to work with, protect and respect the environment. Some of our population/species are migratory, coming to our shores in the summer from as far afield as New Zealand and Japan. By learning about their whole lifestyle, visitors will learn more about the larger environment. Our future aim is to expand the educational aspect of our work – to show our visitors the ‘bigger picture’.
Whilst we are an animal sanctuary, our underpinning belief is that all animals in the Shetland area should have a healthy environment to sustain them, both now and in the future. We believe in education by example and are already committed to low impact living and good environmental practice.
We want to raise awareness not only about the wildlife of the Shetlands Islands but also about the environment as a whole: we all have a responsibility to minimise the negative impact human action is having on the environment.
We will be raising funds for a sea-water filtration system. We currently have to use ‘treated’ water which adds greatly to our running costs and is not, environmentally, the best solution. Using unfiltrated sea-water leaves already sick animals open to water infections. A sea-water filtration system will connect our work directly into the natural environment; it will be self sustaining, safe and clean.