Britain's loneliest sheep: SSPCA say no safe solution to save animal while petition for Scotland rescue mission drums up support

The sheep’s fleece is so overgrown it interferes with potential rescue options

Scotland’s national animal rescue charity said there is no suitable solution to rescue ‘Britain’s loneliest sheep’.

The ewe is believed to have been stranded at the bottom of cliffs on Scotland's Cromarty Firth for at least two years, according to Brora resident Jill Turner, who first saw the animal when she was kayaking nearby in 2021.

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The sheep, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years. Picture: Peter Jolly/NorthpixThe sheep, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years. Picture: Peter Jolly/Northpix
The sheep, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years. Picture: Peter Jolly/Northpix

The sheep’s fleece is overgrown, which is causing concern for its welfare. A petition calling for a rescue mission has gathered more than 52,000 signatures, while a hovercraft company has said it might be able to help. A local farmer has also offered support.

The Scottish SPCA acknowledged the ewe had been stranded “for some time” and that she badly requires sheering. The charity said it had been working on a rescue mission, but so far has been unable to find a safe solution.

An SSPCA spokesperson said: “The area where the sheep is stranded is very inaccessible by both land and sea, making this rescue incredibly complex, especially due to the logistics of rescuing a large animal.

"We have been liaising with other agencies as to the best way to access the area, but so far we have not found a suitable solution that doesn't compromise the safety of the rescue teams and the welfare of the sheep."

The SSPCA said due to the time the ewe had been stranded, it was now deemed to be feral, and likely to be stressed by human contact.

"As this is not a domestic animal, both the coastguard and mountain rescue teams are unable to assist in this matter," the spokesperson said. "We have also spoken with a local skipper who has advised it would be extremely difficult to land a boat in the area.

"We have been given some contact information for other businesses who may be able to help and we are currently exploring these options."

The charity said there were additional complications if a rescue mission was to go ahead. For example, if the sheep becomes distressed, there is a chance it may run into the sea.

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SSPCA officers said because the animal’s fleece is so overgrown, it will be difficult to temporarily sedate the animal, which would have assisted with the rescue.

They said the ewe was not in immediate danger and had access to grazing and water. If she is ever rescued, they said she would likely need a specialist home.

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