A plea to help a pair of orphaned baby otters has smashed through its funding target.
The New Arc Sanctuary in Ellon took two special pups into care last week after their parents and sibling were found dead by an old saw mill in Alford.
The centre made a call for funds to buy a special pool which will help the youngsters learn how to hunt and swim before being released back into the wild.
And within a day of the Evening Express reporting the appeal, kindhearted members of the public opened their wallets and met the £500 target.
Now the plea has raised more than £740.
Keith Marley, of the New Arc Sanctuary, said: “We’ve raised significantly more than we expected.
“The more money we raise the more we can do, so we’re absolutely delighted with the response we’ve had from the public.”
Spotted by a roadside, their sibling and parents were found dead nearby.
The brother and sister, believed to be around nine weeks old, were wandering about by themselves before being taken into the care of the centre.
Staff have been in contact with expert Grace Yoxen, from the International Otter Survival Fund, for guidance on caring for them.
It is expected they will remain at the centre for around a year before their release.
They will soon be put into a large pen for some time before going into an outside area where it will be “hands off”.
Keith said the siblings were on the mend and he fully expects them to be acting like fully-fledged wild otters within the year.
He added: “They’re doing very well.
“They’re putting on weight, eating and behaving very naturally.
“They’re not bonding with anybody, which is good.
“We fully expect to have two wild otters by next year.”
It is now hoped a new pen will be constructed for the baby otters which will be ready in time for Hogmanay.
But it will be a month or two before the pair are let out into their new enclosure.