Seabirds found washed up on the south coast covered in a mysterious gooey substance have been cleaned up, nursed and released back into the wild.
Some of the seabirds found washed up on the south coast covered in a mysterious gooey substance nearly a month ago (January 29, 2013) have been released back into the wild.
More than 300 birds – mainly guillemots and razorbills – have been picked up by RSPCA volunteers over the past few weeks. Most were found on Chesil Beach in Dorset, with others found further along the coast in Folkestone, one in Cornwall and a couple in the Isle of Wight.
Despite previous suggestions that the mystery goo was “a mixture of refined mineral oils”, the substance has now been identified by the Martime & Coastguards Agency as polyisobutene, a colourless synthetic polymer that is often used by ships to make their engines work more efficiently.
The majority of the birds have been cared for at an RSPCA centre in Taunton, however, 65 birds were also taken to the charity’s Mallydams Wood centre in Hastings, East Sussex.
Last week (February 20), staff at the Mallydams Wood centre released 22 guillemots onto a beach near the centre.
Centre manager Bel Deering said: “Our staff have done a fantastic job in cleaning and caring for these birds and now some of them are strong and fit enough to be released back to the wild where they belong.
“They arrived in quite a weak state and needed quite a bit of care and attention to get them rehydrated, fed and strong again before we could wash the sticky substance off them.”