South Mainland wildlife rescue centre to close
She has provided animal welfare from a portable cabin in Dunrossness for almost two years, but Jean Garriock has been forced to call it a day at the Soothend Wildlife Rescue Centre.
The animal lover says she is unable to continue running the welfare centre because of a dramatic shortfall in funding needed to keep it in operation.
The centre at Wiltrow was first set up in June 2014 after the SSPCA controversially closed its Tingwall centre.
But she hopes to assist the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, and the now resurgent SSPCA service operated in Burra by isles inspector Louise Sales.
Closing the Soothend centre comes as a sad end for Ms Garriock’s work. She has invested in a portable cabin to help care for the wildlife service, which she operates by herself with the backing of a board of trustees. She carried out a veterinary support assistant diploma just after setting up.
“There’s no funding available. We’ve applied for funding from various different sources,” she said. “We’ve tried various different bodies that provide grants. But we’ve never been able to secure money for funding.”
She said the organisation had been fundraising itself, but had fallen victim to the wide number of events aimed at raising cash.
“When it starts coming out of your own pocket it becomes unfeasible to work with it.”
During her time in operation, Ms Garriock has looked after a host of different creatures, including three birds of prey – a merlin and a couple of kestrels. She has also cared for a large number of hedgehogs.
“Hedgehogs would need quite a bit of care. Anything that I couldn’t manage I would call the vet. But I would still like to take things in. I still have two hedgehogs that are due for release in the spring.”