Hundreds of dead seabirds have washed up along the shoreline in Broughty Ferry on Scotland’s east coast.
The number of bird deaths is estimated to be in the high hundreds, charity RSPB Scotland said, however the mysterious fatalities are not being linked to bird flu.
A spokesperson for RSPB Scotland said: “Seabirds have been dying and washing ashore across the east coast of Scotland over recent weeks.
“The main species affected to date is the Guillemot, and the numbers exceed the high hundreds, with a high proportion being adult birds.
“The cause remains unclear.
“Numerous beached birds have been tested for Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu, which has killed many thousands of wild birds in Scotland over the past three years – but all have tested negative so far.
“Seabird die-offs like this are not unprecedented but have been more frequent than normal recently, and are a cause for real concern.”
The charity added that breeding seabird numbers in Scotland fell by almost half (49%) between 1986 and 2019, before the impact of bird flu.
The spokesperson added: “The current event could be linked to extreme food shortage, or possibly to toxic algal blooms, which have been predicted to become more frequent in the North Sea with climate change.
“There are many known and proven mechanisms that we as a society could implement to help seabirds – ending sandeel fishing, restoring and protecting breeding sites, monitoring fishery bycatch effectively.
“This will require the political will to do so and we hope that the new Scottish Biodiversity Strategy will bring real and rapid progress in action for seabirds.”
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