DP World is helping to fund a new rescue and rehabilitation facility which will care for sick and injured seals found off the coasts of Essex and Kent, which was opened last week.

The new Seal Unit is part of South Essex Wildlife Hospital, a rescue, rehabilitation and public education charity focused on high animal welfare standards, which was founded 28 years ago to establish wildlife care and rescue in the region.

The £42,000 committed by DP World will fund the facility’s operations over the next three years.

Sue Schwar, founder of South Essex Wildlife Hospital, said: “We would like to thank DP World for their generous support. With no alternative in the region, South Essex Wildlife Hospital has been called upon to rescue and rehabilitate an increasing number of sick, injured, and orphaned marine animals, including Grey Seals, Common Seals, and a variety of sea birds. This funding will give us the resources we need to continue performing this work for at least another three years.

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“The effects we see on our marine life in-patients include polluted and oiled sea birds, seals that have suffered entanglement from fishing nets and other detritus, ingestion of plastics, damage from boats and uncontrolled dog attacks. We are also currently participating in scientific research into the cause and possible treatment of a terminal bacterial infection, known as mouth rot, in Common Seals.

“The importance of ocean habitat and its biodiversity will be a key part of our community education programme, with initiatives such as litter picking events on beaches, dissemination of information to the public about how to spot a marine animal in distress, and advice on how best to report these incidents.”

Andrew Bowen, DP World’s port operations director at London Gateway who officially opened the Seal Unit last week, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with the South Essex Wildlife Hospital on this new facility, which will care for sick animals and raise awareness of the importance of marine conservation.

He added: “We are committed to playing our part to preserve our planet for future generations, by reducing emissions across our global portfolio, protecting ecosystems and enhancing and restoring oceans. This support for South Essex Wildlife Hospital is all about meeting these aims.”