'Sticky substance' birds rescued in Devon and Cornwall

  • 11 April 2013
  • From the section England
Media captionThe RSPB said there was no indication of where the pollution was coming from

Nearly 40 birds covered in a sticky substance have been washed up on the south coast of Cornwall and Devon.

Guillemots have been found on beaches from Mevagissey in Cornwall to Kingsbridge in Devon.

Twelve were found on Wednesday, 27 on Thursday, and more were expected on further high tides, the RSPCA said.

The charity said the birds were covered in "what appears to be the same white substance" that killed hundreds of birds in February.

Birds destroyed

"There is no indication of where the pollution is coming from," it added.

"Five of the birds have been taken to the RSPCA West Hatch wildlife centre in Taunton, Somerset.

"Unfortunately, due to their extremely poor condition, they have been put to sleep," an RSPCA spokesman said.

In February, more than 300 birds, mainly guillemots and some razorbills, were taken in by the charity after being found covered in glue-like polyisobutene.

The birds were found in Dorset, Cornwall, Hampshire and Sussex.

Staff used washing up liquid and margarine to clean the animals.

The RSPB has called for polyisobutene, which can be released legally under certain conditions, to be reclassified and discharges of the substance to be outlawed.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency launched an investigation into the first spill, but has since said it had been unable to trace the source of the pollution and confirmed it had closed the investigation.

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