Oiled birds wash up on beaches

The RSPCA's rescue centre near Taunton is dealing with more birds that have been washed up on beaches covered in a sticky substance.

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Dr Brian May praises RSPCA staff in Taunton

Dr Brian May on his trip to West Hatch Credit: ITV News West Country

Queen guitarist Brian May has praised the team cleaning sea birds found covered in a sticky sustance on beaches in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

He's been visiting the RSPCA's West Hatch Centre near Taunton. Dr May is the organisation's vice president. He also joined a rally protesting against the forthcoming badger cull.

Chemical spill casualty toll reaches 1000

60 birds were found washed up on Chesil beach today. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Wildlife charities say more than 1000 dead seabirds have now been washed up on beaches in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset following a chemical spill last week.

Around 60 more have been found on Chesil Beach today, while 200 others are being treated by the RSPCA and South Devon Seabird Trust.

It's the second time in three months that the substance, Polyisobutene, has killed seabirds in the South West.


RSPCA calls for investigation into pollution

The RSPCA are calling for an investigation after pollution harmed hundreds of seabirds for the second time in two months. More than 170 birds, most of them guillemots, were treated at the charity's West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton after they were washed up covered in a sticky substance.

They were found as far west as Mevagissey and round to Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand Bay. Many more birds were found dead on the beaches. Experts from Plymouth University have confirmed the chemical as polyisobutene (PIB), the same substance affecting birds in February.

It was bad enough seeing so many birds come to us in such a terrible state last time but for it to happen again and so soon is devastating.

It is a huge concern to learn that it is the same substance coating these birds. It makes you wonder whether it could keep on happening unless a serious effort is made to look into where these spills are coming from and how they can be stopped.

A proper investigation is needed to stop this happening again and again, or else our wildlife are likely to go on suffering and dying.

– Peter Venn, Manager, RSPCA West Hatch

Anyone who finds a bird covered in the chemical should contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and should not try to touch the birds or catch them.


Pollution incident continues

Nearly 100 seabirds caught up in the latest pollution incident hitting the region's coastline have been collected in Devon.

They have been taken from beaches in Devon as far west as Mevagissey and round to Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand Bay.

Many have been taken to the RSPCA's West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton where staff are working flat out.

The vast majority are guillemots but there are also a couple of razorbills.

"It's not just immature birds that have been caught in this sticky, fatty substance.

"We have a mix of white-headed juveniles and black-headed mature birds. They are in a much poorer condition than the ones we treated in the first pollution incident."

– Peter Venn, West Hatch manager

Nearly 90 oiled seabirds rescued

One of the rescued guillemots Credit: ITV News West Country

More birds have washed up in the westcountry with the same pollutant that contaminated sea birds two months ago.

The RSPCA has rescued nearly 90 birds from beaches as far west as Mevagissey and round to Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand bay.

Samples of the substance have been sent to the University of Plymouth for testing.

RSPCA help birds covered in sticky oil substance

Over 30 guillemots have been rescued from coastlines across the South West. Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA staff at the West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton are continuing to help with the guillemot clean up operation.

Over 30 birds have been washed up on beaches across Devon and Cornwall after finding themselves covered in an oily, sticky substance.

The RSPCA's Peter Ferris helps with the clean up. Credit: RSPCA
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