Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary in Shetland has been looking after sick, injured and abandoned seals and otters since 1987 when a young common seal pup was washed up on our beach.
Since then hundreds of seals and other creatures have passed through our hands to be cared for and released back into the wild where they belong. We’re also part of a team that coordinates the rescue of cetaceans in trouble around Sheland.
The sanctuary is based in a 17th century Hanseatic trading post and 19th century laird’s house on the seafront at Hillswick, in the north mainland of Shetland.
It is a large property with extensive gardens where we grow our own vegetables and herbs with the help of volunteers from around the world. As part of Kew Gardens’ national Grow Wild project we have also been creating a wildlife garden/community space around our local public toilets, called Nature Calls.
We are funded entirely by donations and have a small charity shop, which opens most weekends during the summer between June and September.
In 2014 Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary was awarded an Animal Action Award by the International Fund for Animal Welfare for our work with wildlife.
We believe the oceans and their inhabitants need all the help they can get to withstand the impact humans are having on the environment. Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary is committed to raising awareness and showing by example the change the world needs if it is to find a new way of living in harmony with nature.
Lots to do…
Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary works closely with the animal welfare charity SSPCA, local environment agencies and our local vets.
We played a major role in dealing with the impact of the Braer oil spill in 1993 and are members of the Shetland Oil Terminal Environment Advisory Group’s Wildlife Response Coordinating Committee that will respond to any pollution incident.
Minn the adorable grey seal pup
Sedna the sea goddess is the Star of our junk garden project, made entirely from ocean-borne litter, made in collaboration with the local primary school in Hillswick.