Massive bird death: 500 common guillemots found dead in France

Massive bird death: 500 common guillemots found dead in France

Around 500 seabirds called common guillemots have been found on the Atlantic shores in France, conservation group Sea Shepherd said.

Since the start of the year, Sea Shepherd volunteers have been finding the seabirds on the beaches in the west of France near La Rochelle.

“We patrol beaches every day of the week, and we find guillemots nearly every day. It depends on the weather conditions,” Antoine Prevel, a volunteer for Sea Shepherd France, said.

The birds also get caught in fishing nets, Prevel said. “We’ve already seen those birds being captured in fishing nets. We’ve filmed that during our sea patrols, so we know that birds are getting tangled in fishing nets and drowning from it.”

Climate change

Scientists are trying to understand the reasons behind the deaths. “We clearly see this bird is emaciated. This bird did not have enough energy and died of exhaustion,” Jerome Fort, head of research at the CNRS National Research Institute, said while examining a common guillemot.

Fort said the birds likely died from exhaustion due to difficult sea conditions caused by storms and hard winds. “Guillemot birds are a species that will not survive if they don’t feed for two or three days. They have no energy reserves, so they need to feed almost constantly.”

“So when there’s a storm with strong winds, such as recently, these birds will find it hard to feed properly, have to use more energy, and die of exhaustion,” he explained.

“We know that with climate change, we see an increase in the frequency and intensity of storms, particularly winter storms. And we know that winter storms are largely the reason for massive strandings of seabirds,” Fort said.

He added that microplastics and chemical contamination could also kill seabirds. Another factor could be that the fish common guillemots prey on have become rare and have relocated closer to the shores due to climate change and overfishing.

Whatsapp Channel

Support The Animal Reader – Daily Animal News

The Animal Reader is your go-to source for daily updates on animal newsWe’re committed to keeping our content freely accessible to all.

If you can support us, it would help us grow our independent animal news platform. 

Previous articleRed panda seized from smugglers at Thailand airport
Next articleHunters kill birds in Cyprus on a mass scale, conservationists say