Answer to Muttonbird deaths

Subject: Answer to Muttonbird deaths
From: "Mark Sanders" <>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 02:30:39 GMT
Just found out the reason why all the Shearwaters have been turning up dead on our beachs.

Hope they catch the culprits

Mark Sanders

Muttonbird Deaths Prompt Investigation

A scientific investigation is underway into the deaths of hundreds of
muttonbirds found washed ashore along the Queensland and New South Wales
coastline, after oil was found in some of the birds' stomachs.

Environment Minister, Rod Welford, said autopsies by the Queensland Parks
and Wildlife Service (QPWS) on three birds washed ashore on North Stradbroke
Island had discovered small amounts of oil in the birds' intestines and
severe liver damage.

"Our scientists have advised the oil was probably ingested in the last
week, somewhere in the central western Pacific," Mr Welford said.

"This is just the start of an investigation and autopsies need to be
conducted on more of the birds to provide conclusive evidence.  At present
the samples have been too small to determine the type of oil.

"There could also be other factors. If oil proves to be a contributing
factor, samples will be analysed and we may be able to identify the source
of the oil.

"The QPWS has been joined by researchers from Currumbin Sanctuary and
Taronga Zoo to conduct further tests and look at other possible causes of
death, both natural and human-induced."

Mr Welford said there had been reports of hundreds of muttonbirds being
washed ashore from Fraser Island to as far south as Kempsey in northern NSW.

"From time to time, these birds die in large numbers on their annual
migration from the northern hemisphere to their nesting sites in southern
Australia," he said.

"They head south from the Aleutian Islands, through the central Pacific,
curving westward to the Australian coastline and arrive in October to
November. The main nesting sites are in Victoria and Tasmania.

"Australia has all the breeding sites for this species and Queensland has
internationally-recognised Ramsar wetland sites where migratory birds feed
and rest."

Contact: Greg Milne or Bernadette Alizart on 38963688

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