Britain's loneliest sheep: Scottish SPCA plan rescue mission as petition to rescue stranded ewe nears 50,000

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The lone ewe, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years

A complex rescue mission is being planned for a ewe dubbed 'Britain's loneliest sheep', who is thought to have been stranded on a remote cliffside for years.

The same solitary sheep has been spotted twice by kayakers on an isolated shingle beach in Scotland's Cromarty Firth two years apart, running after their boats and bleating. Her sad tale saw a petition launched over the weekend to rescue her, which as of Wednesday morning (1 November) had attracted nearly 50,000 signatures.

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In a statement on Tuesday (31 October), the Scottish SPCA confirmed it was proactively seeking a solution to help the stranded sheep, near Brora. "We appreciate that the welfare of this animal is understandably of public concern and would like to provide reassurance that we are working with various partners and agencies to help rescue this animal," a spokesperson said.

The sheep, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years (Photo: Peter Jolly - Northpix)The sheep, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years (Photo: Peter Jolly - Northpix)
The sheep, now bogged down by a heavy fleece, is thought to have been stranded for two years (Photo: Peter Jolly - Northpix) | Peter Jolly/Northpix

"This is an incredibly complex rescue due to the inaccessibility of the land by both land and sea, and we are working to find a way to help the sheep without compromising the safety of the rescue team and the welfare of the animal," they continued. "Our team are continually monitoring the sheep and can confirm it has ample grazing and water and isn't in any immediate danger.

"We do, however, want to reach the sheep as, and as safely as possible." The animal charity said it would provide regular updates with how efforts to rescue her were progressing.

Londoner Edoardo L'Astorina started the Change.org petition to rescue the sheep over the weekend, after he said he was "deeply moved" by the solitary sheep's story. The ewe, first spotted by Brora local Jillian Turner while kayaking along the Moray Firth's east Highland coast two years ago, was recently spotted by her again with an overgrown fleece. Ms Turner told NationalWorld the rescue was "promising news".

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She earlier told the Northern Times the sheep saw them coming both times, and called out to them. “She called out on our approach and once again followed the group along the shore jumping from rock to rock, calling to us the whole way,” she said. "It is heartrending."

Mr L'Astorina added: "It is clear that this ewe is in need of assistance - its overgrown fleece can cause serious health problems including infection, heat stress and difficulty moving to find food... Sheep are very sociable and intelligent creatures. They thrive in the companionship of their flock and can suffer a lot when they are isolated.

"We believe every life matters and we are committed to ensuring this lonely sheep gets rescued from its precarious situation," he continued. "We want to take this [petition] to the Scottish SPCA and show them how many of us care about this lonely animal and help raise funds for professional animal rescuers who have the skills and resources necessary for such a challenging rescue operation."

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