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‘Don’t feed wild animals,’ urges CROW

It is believed that a Kelp gull was fed human food which caused a toxic illness called botulism.

TWO marine birds are recovering at the Centre for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) after they were brought in by community members.

The centre has appealed to the community not to feed wildlife after treating a Kelp gull for botulism, which occurs when toxins fill the body, causing paralytic effects.

The juvenile Kelp gull was found lying next to its dead parents on a beach in Winklespruit.

The bird was very lethargic and seemed almost paralysed, said Alexandra Koegl, communications and marketing officer for CROW.

Also read: Extremely rare sea bird found on uMngeni River bank

“It could have been that he was given human food. Don’t give gulls any chips or human food. A gull is a marine bird, it isn’t supposed to eat potatoes or bread – it eats fish. Anything that isn’t part of an animal’s natural diet will wreck havoc on their system. We often see this with monkeys – they are given food that has been treated with pesticides or has a human element. It affects their growth,” she said.

Another bird, a Red-footed booby came in emaciated and weak.

“It’s still a young bird, covered in its juvenile plumage. He had to be hand-fed fish as boobies are deep-sea fishers and are used to eating straight after a graceful dive into the water. We’re just waiting for his flight feathers to come in before releasing him back into the ocean,” she said.

This red-footed booby was in emaciated and weak when it arrived at CROW.

Also read: VIDEO: CROW calls for donations as lockdown hits income

With the Spring months ahead, CROW has appealed to the community to bring in any injured or sick wildlife that is spotted.

“We are heading into baby season – it’s an especially busy season at CROW. We are always so grateful if people can keep an eye out for animals and bring them to us. Both these birds were spotted by passersby. Animals wouldn’t reach us unless someone brought them to us,” she said.

CROW can also collect animals if notified by the community. 

For more information, call CROW on 031 462 1127.



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