Enigmatic mass extinction: thousands of dead birds have been stranded in the Netherlands

07.02.2019 Wageningen.
Thousands of guillemots have been found dead in recent weeks on the Dutch North Sea coast. The mass extinction gives rise to riddles.

Dutch researchers are investigating an enigmatic mass extinction of seabirds. In recent weeks, several thousand guillemots have been found dead on the North Sea coast. That would be very unusual, said a speaker from the University of Wageningen on Thursday at the request of the German press agency. "That did not happen in years."

After the first study the birds had severe gastrointestinal damage. The university has not specified the number of affected birds. Dutch media reported 20,000 dead animals. According to the speaker, it is still unclear whether there is a connection with the accident of the container ship "MSC Zoe".

At the beginning of January at least 345 containers of the ship arrived in the North Sea. On the coasts and on islands in the north of the country and in the vicinity of Borkum many loads and plastic waste have been washed up.

According to the university, dead, dying or weakened birds can still be found daily. Researchers would now investigate what caused the death of the animals. Up to now only one type of Alkenvögel has been affected. The first results are expected in early March.

The first dead seabirds were found for the first time on the Wadden Sea islands, now on the entire Dutch coast. According to the university, it is unusual for neither the neighboring Germany nor Belgium to be affected by seabirds. (AP)

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