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RSPCA say margarine has been a "life-saver"

We are incredibly grateful for donations of margarine, fish for the birds and even some food for the staff which have come in from lots of local people.

This incident was completely unexpected and came out of the blue. We were not expecting such sudden vast numbers of birds to come through our doors in need of help and we were literally running out of the margarine to clean them and fish to feed them.

It is still early days and hard to say how the birds will survive in the long-term but the margarine is proving to be a real life-saver."

– Peter Venn, West Hatch manager

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Public donate margarine to help seabirds

Members of the public have donated margarine and fish to help seabirds which were taken to a Somerset rescue centre after being contaminated with a mystery paraffin oil.

Staff at the RSPCA's West Hatch centre in Taunton are caring for more than 300 birds which were found covered in the sticky substance along the south coast.

The birds, mainly guillemots but some of them razorbills, were found mainly on Chesil Beach, near Portland and Weymouth.

Subsequent attempts using margarine were more successful, but as the number of the birds arriving at the centre grew, supplies of the life-saving spread dwindled until members of the public stepped in to help.

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  1. Richard Lawrence

Full report: RSPB says seabirds need formal protection in marine conservation zones

The RSPB says around 400 birds in total have been rescued from along the south coast but experts are still trying to detmenine exactly what caused the pollution incident.

The charity says it highlights the need for sea birds to be given formal protection in marine conservation zones. Richard lawrence reports.

Seabirds found dead in pollution mystery

A number of birds have been found dead Credit: Dorset Wildlife Trust

A number of birds have been found dead on Dorset's coast as the rescue operation continues.

The sea birds are covered in a mysterious substance. More than a hundred have been rescued and taken to the RSPCA centre in West Hatch where margarine and washing up liquid are being used to clean them.

RSPCA deputy chief inspector John Pollock says: "The numbers of the birds coming in have been growing and sadly there were quite a few dead birds this morning. We are still down at the beach, though, collecting and trying to save as many of them as we can."

More seabirds in pollution mystery

The birds are being looked after in Taunton Credit: ITV News

Increasing numbers of stricken birds are washing up on the south west coast after being covered in a mysterious substance.

Experts are no closer to discovering the cause of the damage, which has seen more than 100 seabirds taken into care at the RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton.

Most of the birds were found in Dorset, but one bird was found alive as far as Worthing in west Sussex.

Around 200 miles of the English coastline is being investigated. The Environment Agency has taken samples of the water for testing.

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