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Rescue effort continues after hundreds of birds washed up along Dorset coastline
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- *More than 300 birds, dead and alive, have washed up over the past several days.
- *The Environment Agency says the birds have been contaminated by a 'refined mineral-based oil mixture'. But there is no suggestion yet where it has come from.
- *The birds started being washed up on Wednesday and the situation has been getting worse.
- *Members of the public are urged to stay away and leave the experts to deal with injured birds.
- *The rescue operation will continue at Portland today. Keep logged on to dorsetecho.co.uk for all of the latest updates.
- *If you have any pictures or videos, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01305 830999.
DORSET Wildlife Trust is urging members of the public not to try and rescue washed up birds.
Marc Smith, of DWT, said the RSPCA should be informed immediately if more birds are found.
He said: "We know the public are keen to help but we strongly advise they do not try to rescue the birds.
"We do not want anyone putting themselves in danger and if the birds are not handled correctly they can end up exhausted which reduces their chance of survival."
Contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
MARC Smith, of Dorset Wildlife Trust, with one of the affected birds on Chesil Beach.
Photo taken by Angela Thomas, assistant warden at Chesil Bank and Fleet Nature Reserve.
THE count rises as more birds have been found washed up along the Dorset coastline.
Over the last four days, a total of 200 birds have been rescued so far.
Around 20 birds were rescued this morning and 20 were found dead.
Of this number, a total of 14 were rescued from around Chesil Cove.
Another 30 birds were found at Swanage yesterday with reports of more being found today.
Marc Smith, of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Our concern now is that the wind has changed direction which will start pushing the birds out to sea.
"As the days go on the birds will become colder and more exhausted, lowering their chances of survival.
"Birds may start to wash up in different areas now because of this wind change.
"The number of birds is staggering and there is a wider concern of the long term impact this could potentially have on the marine environment as a whole.
"Dorset’s coastline is rich in marine wildlife including dolphins, sharks and seals."
He added: "We do not know if this substance will enter the food chain or if other animals are being affected.
"Only time will tell what the long term effects of this environmental disaster will be.”
Most birds have washed up in Chesil Cove, which is part of a newly proposed Marine Protected Area.
Latest from@RSPCA_official "33 birds were received last night 25-30 collected this morning and on their way to West Hatch" @DorsetWildlife— @RSPBSouthWest 02 February 2013
SOUTH Dorset MP Richard Drax praised the efforts of rescuers helping to clean contaminated seabirds.
Mr Drax has been down to Chesil Beach this morning to talk to rescuers.
He said: "The teams on Portland are doing a marvellous job.
"One man told me he had rescued three birds this morning and was taking them to Somerset to treat.
"He let me touch one of the birds and the substance they are covered in is absolutely awful.
"It felt almost like glue to touch, let us hope they find the cause of this as soon as possible."
Investigations into where the substance has come from are still underway.
DORSET Wildlife Trust says a change of wind is limiting rescuers ability to recover affected birds.
A spokeswoman for Dorset Wildlife Trust said: "The north west offshore wind is now blowing many seabirds out to sea which will limit the rescuers ability to recover the affected victims of the toxic man-made mineral oil.
"This will also increase the overall number of fatalities."
Today has seen 10 dead birds washed up along Chesil Beach and two alive.
The RSPCA and DWT are working together to co-ordinate the rescue operation.
@RichardBenyonMP: “I’d like to thank everyone who’s helping to clean up seabirds, giving them a chance of survival” #birdrescue— @DefraGovUK 01 February 2013
ANOTHER six birds have been found dead off Portland this morning.
Chesil Beach officer Marc Smith said: "When the rescue operation was coming to an end last night we could still see loads of birds in the water around Portland.
"This morning we found six dead and another contaminated on beaches around the island.
"The numbers are less but it could be because of a change in wind which is blowing the birds along the coastline."
THE substance found on hundreds of seabirds washed up on the south coast is a 'mixture of refined mineral oils', the Environment Agency has said.
Some 200 birds - mostly guillemots - are being treated at RSPCA centres along the southern coast after they were washed ashore covered in the white, sticky substance.
Many have been washed ashore at Portland and the death toll in total so far along the coast has reached 200.
Rescuers will be out again this weekend but fear that the figure may rise.
IMPORTANT: anyone who finds any oiled birds - don't touch - just contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999— @DorsetWildlife 01 February 2013