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British gulls transport plastic waste to Spanish lake
“Gulls are highly mobile and act as highly efficient biovectors” – Chris Thaxter.
Ingested landfill waste is contributing to plastic pollution in wetlands.

British gulls wintering in Spain are transporting significant amounts of plastic waste and depositing it in a vital wetland habitat, a study has found.

The birds are ingesting the plastic alongside other waste products as they forage on British landfill sites. After they travel to Spain, it is then being regurgitated in pellets as they gather in wetlands to roost.

Researchers from the Doñana Biological Station, working in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), sampled pellets and faeces from lesser black-backed gulls in the Fuente de Piedra lake nature reserve in Malaga.

They found that 86 per cent of pellets contained plastics, and 94 per cent contained other litter such as glass and textiles. Polyethylene was the most common plastic found. Faeces contributed just one per cent of the plastic mass deposited.

Using GPS data which tracked gulls from UK breeding sites alongside census data, the researchers estimated that an average of 400kg of plastic was deposited in the lake by gulls each year.

The Fuente de Piedra lagoon is an important habitat for wildlife and home to the largest colony of greater flamingos in the Iberian Peninsula.

Chris Thaxter, senior research ecologist with the BTO, said: “This study suggests that the translocation of harmful plastics could be more widespread and problematic than we’d assumed.

“Gulls are highly mobile and act as highly efficient biovectors, transporting these pollutants considerable distances, posing yet more threats to important wetland habitats across the globe.”   

The study has been published in the journal Science Direct.

Image © Shutterstock

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

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News Shorts
CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.