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Storms taking massive toll of sea birds and mammals in Cornwall

By CG_Oscar  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

Puffins are among the birds found dead along the coast

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The Cornwall Wildlife Trust has responded to an unprecedented number of dead sea birds and mammals washed up around the coast due to the ongoing storms.

A total of 29 birds, 14 seals -juveniles and adults - and nine dolphins were recorded dead on the shore in the last 4 weeks, with numbers continuing to rise.

Dead sea birds include puffins, razorbills and guillemots, gannets and cormorants.

This is most likely due to being storm-wrecked by adverse weather conditions that exhaust the birds, says the trust.

Seals are also struggling, with many new pups being found stranded, injured, weak and often dead on the shores.

Niki Clear, marine data officer at Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: ‘The relentless storms hitting our coast has had a cumulative effect on animals which can usually cope with bad weather but are now on really low reserves and sadly are dying in large numbers. Sea birds and seals have been particularly badly hit.’’

Sue Sayer of Cornwall Seal Group who has been studying seals for the last 20 years, added: “Many of the autumn pups have been separated from their mothers by the huge seas and of those that have weaned, many that are exploring the seas and learning to feed are suffering injuries such as broken jaws from being thrown against the rocks.

“The high tides and stormy conditions have meant that many of the beaches the seals use to rest and recoup are covered with water, and there have been reports from around the county of young seals being washed into ridiculous places, up cliffs, into harbours and even into peoples’ gardens.’’

The trust is urging people to report what they see using it’s 24hour Strandings hotline 03452012626.

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