Stricken guillemots on the mend at animal centre
These guillemots are looking happier and healthier following an emergency clean-up after they were washed up on the coast covered in a ''waxy, glue-like" substance.
More than 300 guillemots, a kind of auk, were discovered a fortnight ago covered in the oily substance along the coastline from Dorset to Cornwall. Many of the birds were taken to the West Hatch Animal Centre in Taunton for rehabilitation, pictured above by Richard Austin.
However, numerous others have been found dead on beaches.
Manager Peter Venn said: "When we found the birds they were very sticky. They couldn't fly and were bobbing about on the water – completely incapable."
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Each of the birds is being cleaned twice with vegetable oil by staff members before being allowed outside again in preparation for their release back to the wild. Mr Venn said: "Then we will test their ability to stay comfortable on the water.
"We've dealt with three major incidents since the 1960s. The latest one is a huge, long challenge and we don't expect it to be completed until the end of March."