South coast oil spillage could kill more birds

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MORE sea birds could die from a spill that has contaminated England’s south coast, according to wildlife experts.

A change in wind direction is now blowing many birds out to sea and could lead to more fatalities in the coming days as they become cold and exhausted. Hundreds of seabirds have died and thousands more have been washed ashore along coastline that stretches from West Sussex to Cornwall after being covered in a sticky, oily substance.

Wildlife experts raced to the shoreline to save as many birds as possible, and hundreds – mostly guillemots – are now being treated at RSPCA centres.

Scientists from the Environment Agency identified the mystery substance as a refined mineral oil, but not animal or vegetable-based oil.

Emma Rance, marine conservation officer for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, said a change in the wind had limited the numbers of birds being washed ashore: “The north-west offshore wind is now blowing many seabirds out to sea which will limit the rescuers ability to recover the affected victims,” she said.