THE HILLSWICK Wildlife Sanctuary is marking 30 years of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing seals and otters back into the wild and launching a bid to secure its long-term future.
The sanctuary, run by Jan and Pete Bevington, has been offered an “amazing opportunity” after the local oil industry and Shetland Islands Council pledged up to £300,000 to refurbish, renovate and “future proof” the sanctuary for the next three decades.
But the investment depends on the sanctuary being able to prove that it can stand on its own two feet financially.
Built on “a foundation of love and sheer hard work”, the sanctuary has survived until now on a shoestring budget.
It is now looking for 500 people willing to pledge £5 a month, providing a regular income to cover day-to-day running costs.
If they are successful the refurbishment funds will be released – providing Shetland’s seals and otters with a safe haven for years to come.
“The facilities at Hillswick are desperate to be refurbished,” Jan and Pete said. “Over the last three years we have managed to persuade the oil industry and the council that we are worth investing in as part of Shetland’s oil spill response plan for wildlife.
“However before they can invest such a large sum of money, they need reassurance that the sanctuary can sustain itself into the future.
“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, so we’re reaching out to our thousands of friends and followers in Shetland and around the world for help. If ever we needed your support, it’s now.”