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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.

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.

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

by Richard Lawrence

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.

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