BDMLR (British Divers Marine Life Rescue) a wildlife charity of volunteers who respond to stranded, injured and entangled whale, dolphin, porpoise and seals have taken ownership of two new trailers to help in their efforts to protect marine life in the north west Highlands.
A team of volunteers have spent the last two years training others to be able to assist in rescues and have also been making efforts to ensure that adequate equipment is in place.
A mass stranding of pilot whales at Staffin highlighted that the north west was short of trained people and also equipment – 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.
An online appeal raised funds for an initial whale pontoon – specialised inflatable kit that can stabilised and help refloat stranded whales – was bought and located in Ullapool.
Thanks to an anonymous donor who owns a holiday home on Skye, a further two pontoons were bought earlier this year and located on Skye and Lewis.
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 so must be protected, was proving difficult as the team relied on local people to allow them to use space in sheds and work stores.
“After looking at a number of options and what would be most cost effective, as well as allow 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.” said Skye and Wester Ross Area Coordinator Noel Hawkins, based in Ullapool.
“This was made possible by the assistance from Ullapool and Skye fire brigades who have allowed us to store the trailers on their premises. 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.”
The new trailers are to be located at Skye and Ullapool and members of the team will have access at all hours if and when needed.
Further details about bdmlr and how to join and support can be found: here