Monday, November 18, 2019
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An anonymous donor on Skye has significantly boosted the ability of charity volunteers to respond to life or death marine rescue situations

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), a wildlife charity which responds to stranded, injured and entangled whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals, has taken ownership of two new trailers to help in their efforts to protect marine life in the north-west Highlands.

A team of volunteers covering Skye and Wester Ross have spent the past two years training volunteers to be able to assist in rescues and have also been making efforts to ensure that adequate equipment is in place.

An online appeal raised funds for an initial whale pontoon – specialised inflatable kit that can stabilised and help refloat stranded whales but now, thanks to an anonymous donor who owns a holiday home on Skye, a further two pontoons have been purchased with one stored on the island itself.

A  mass stranding of pilot whales at Staffin highlighted that the north-west was short of trained people and equipment – so an appeal had to be made for members of the public to assist in rescue efforts and equipment had to be mobilised from as far away as Edinburgh and Dundee.

Storing the pontoons and additional equipment for seal lifts and also protective equipment for volunteers who are often called out to isolated and dangerous locations, was proving difficult as the team relied on local people to allow them to use space in sheds and work stores.

Skye and Wester Ross area co-ordinator, Noel Hawkins said: "After looking at a number of options and what would be most cost-effective as well as allowing our team access to required kit 24 hours a day, we decided to go for secure trailers that provide safe storage and the ability to move the kit quickly if we have a major incident in the region, or even further afield."

The trailer on Skye is being securely stored thanks to the assistance of local fire fighters and Noel added: "We hope that the new trailers and equipment will allow us to deal with any future incidents in the best and speediest manner that might prove vital in saving our marine life."

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