A seal pup has died after a rescue mission which involved it being flown to Shetland for specialist care.
Cosmos, one of four common seals flown to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary by the Scottish SPCA has died, Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary said.
The seals were taken to the island after a Scottish SPCA rescue centre’s water filtration system, where the seal and three others were staying, broke down.
Teams worked to help Cosmos
A spokeswoman for Hillswick Rescue Centre said: “We are very sad to say that Cosmos, one of the four common seal pups flown up to Shetland from Inverness after being transported from the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Alloa, has passed away.
“He was not feeling well by the time he arrived at Hillswick last week, and though we did all we could to keep him going he could not find the strength to survive.
“Fortunately the other three pups June, Raine and Blaze seem to be steadying up after their long journey north.
She continued: “Our concern about the fragility of the common seals around our coastline continues so we are keeping our fingers well and truly crossed for these three as we keep a close eye on them around the clock.”
The three other seals are starting to thrive at the centre.
“After just over a week at the sanctuary, our three lovely common seal pups June, Raine and Blaze have fully recovered from their nine-hour journey by van and plane to Shetland from the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross and are actually starting to thrive again.
“June and Raine are inseparable, as they have been since they both arrived at the Fishcross centre two months ago as premature pups.
“Blaze, who came into the centre in mid-July, was very weak and congested for the first few days here in Hillswick but seems to have turned a corner now and is showing signs of real strength and improvement.
“It’s a fine balance with these common seals as they are so fragile these days. We have to be so careful with them.”
Scottish SPCA wildlife centre manager, Chris Hogsden, said, “Due to ongoing issues with the water filtration system at our wildlife centre, we are having to find alternative rehabilitation sites for the seals in our care.
Three other seal pups beginning to thrive
“Last week we transported four common seal pups to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary in Shetland, and we were saddened to hear that one of the seals passed away shortly after their arrival.
“Despite best efforts this seal could not be saved, but after the initial transfer the other three pups are beginning to settle in to their new temporary home.
“We are still urgently fundraising to replace our water treatment system so that our wildlife hospital can continue to rescue and rehabilitate seals, seabirds and waterfowl in Scotland.
“We would greatly appreciate anything members of the public can spare to help us continue to save seals in Scotland.”