Sadly, British Divers Marine Life Rescue has had to close the BDMLR Highland Seal Hospital based at Scarfskerry in Caithness.
The centre was set up originally to cope with seals in the north of Scotland as there were no other facilities there. Funding has always been a major concern and whilst IFAW have been great supporters of the project and BDMLR volunteers and supporters have all contributed, keeping the facility open is no longer viable in the face of rising costs.
The unit will remain accessible as an overnight holding facility only, with seals being transferred to other facilities such as the new SSPCA National Wildlife Rescue Centre based at Alloa, for care and rehabilitation.
The Trustees would like to thank its manager, Jamie Dyer, his wife Heather and the BDMLR volunteers and funders who have put so much into this project over the years. The hospital really has made a valuable difference and the commitment of all who have been involved over the years has been exemplary.
BDMLR Operations Manager
The following is a personal message from Jamie Dyer, the facility’s manager.
It is with regret and deep sadness I have to inform everyone that the BDMLR Highland Seal Hospital is now closed.
Due to the current economic climate and dwindling funding coupled with ever increasing costs BDMLR can no longer raise the necessary funding to keep the BDMLR Highland Seal Hospital operating.
With much budget tightening over the last few years and rising costs it is now no longer viable to keep the unit open without causing financial problems for the charity as a whole in the long term.
My position as manager has become redundant and while I will have to move on to other things I will still be involved with BDMLR in my usual role with strandings and rescues in Scotland working with the same group of dedicated medics as always.
The hospital building itself will remain on standby as a holding facility so when local pups come in we can treat/hold them overnight in proper facilities before moving them on to an appropriate facility. This coupled with the great bunch of medics, Ali Jack the Scottish National Organiser for BDMLR being across the road and the many events local coordinator Audrey Gunn has planned for us in Caithness means that BDMLR will still have a huge and active presence in the Caithness area. I will now maybe have a bit more time to help out at these events as well as other BDMLR projects.
Heather and I would like to thank everyone for their support over the last 5 – 6 years for making the hospital the success it was. While funding has meant its closure, the work, standards and protocols and especially the commitment of BDMLR and all the volunteers meant it made a huge difference to the lives of very many seals, and that was always the main aim.
I would also like to thank Alan Knight and James Barnett for the opportunity to start this project, Ian and Claire at IFAW for all their wonderful support and funding. We all gave it a great shot and we achieved more than we ever set out to do. We built a world class internationally recognised facility which was a huge success.
BDMLR Highland Seal Hospital Manager