RSPCA swoops in to rescue 'drunk' gulls from across East Devon
PUBLISHED: 10:21 06 July 2018 | UPDATED: 10:28 06 July 2018
A surge in 'drunk' seagulls has left RSPCA staff scratching their heads and rescue vans 'smelling like pubs' after rescuing a number of intoxicated birds.
More than a dozen gulls have saved by the animal welfare charity since the middle of June.
Left scratching their heads to the reasons why staff are concerned the birds have gained access to waste products from local breweries or alcohol producers.
The charity has been called out to Seaton, Colyton, Exmouth, Sidmouth, and Budleigh Salterton and at the weekend Lyme Regis.
Clara Sully, animal collection officer, said: “These birds were clearly wearing their beer gog-gulls when they scavenged their meal for the day and they’ve really been suffering with hangovers after a gulls’ night out.”
RSPCA vet David Couper urged vets to look out for the signs after he treated a number of the gulls at the charity’s West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton.
He said: “Sadly, a few of the birds have died but most of them have made good recoveries and have been released after a few days in our care.
“I’d like to urge any local vets who see birds coming in with similar symptoms not to euthanise them but to give them a chance to recover from the effects of the alcohol.
“The birds appear disoriented and confused and strugle to stand. We took some video of one of the birds who is staggering around and losing his balance just like a person would if they’d had too much to drink.”
The charity is urging breweries and alcohol producers to make sure their waste is not accessible by wildlife.
It added that brewery waste can also be used as compost and feed so narrowing down how the gull’s are being affected has been difficult.
Inspector Jo Daniels said: “We think they’re gaining access to some brewing waste products somewhere.
“At first, the birds look like they have botulism, an illness caused by bacteria, but then, after vomiting, most seem to recover.
“The birds absolutely stink of alcohol when we collect them so now our vans smell like pubs.”
Anyone with concerns for the welfare of a bird or animal can contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999 for advice or to request assistance.