RSPCA rescues dozens of birds covered in sticky substance


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The Independent Online

Dozens of birds have been recovered from beaches in the south west covered in an oily substance, three months after more than 300 birds were affected by oil pollution, suspected to have seeped from chemical tankers.

Nearly 90 birds have been collected by a team of six RSPCA inspectors on beaches from Mevagissey, Plymouth, Looe and Whitsand Bay.

A number of birds taken in by West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton were in such a bad condition they had to be put to sleep.

The RSPCA said that the current pollution “appears to be the same type of chemical as that which affected more than 300 birds – mainly guillemots and razorbills – at the end of January”

Following the deaths of seabirds in January, the UK joined European governments in “investigating the discharge of High Viscosity Products by chemical tankers and the resulting residues washing up on beaches” the Marine Conservation Agency has confirmed.

Samples of the current pollutant have been sent to the University of Plymouth for analysis, the RSPCA said.