Highlands & Islands

Dead seabirds covered in oil found on Western Isles

Oil covered guillemot. Pic: RSPB Scotland
Image caption An oil covered guillemot that was found on Lewis

Dead seabirds covered in oil have been found washed up along the Western Isles' coast.

Twelve guillemots have been recovered since 27 December on Lewis, Benbecula, Harris and Eriskay. Seven were alive.

British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), which has been monitoring the finds, said the source of the oil was not known at this stage.

It has also raised concerns that other species of seabirds, such as gannet, could be affected by the pollution.

The surviving birds have been cleaned by animal welfare charity staff and volunteers.

They will be sent to the mainland for further treatment.

RSPB Scotland has asked for members of the public to alert it to any further sightings of seabirds in distress.

The conservation charity said: "If people are walking the Hebridean beaches keep an eye out for birds ashore, especially those that may be oiled. If they are still alive call SSPCA on 03000 999 999 or the local RSPB in Stornoway on 01851 703296.

"We would also be interested to hear of any fatalities so that we can log where birds are being found."

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it was told about the birds on Tuesday.

Coastguard officers searched the Uist coastline but found no evidence of pollution.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Scottish Environment Protect Agency said they had not been notified of any problems.

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