France.  Guillemoes die en masse over the Atlantic Ocean

Guillemots often die on French beaches. Since the beginning of the year, more than 500 people have been found dead along the Atlantic coast. As scientists explain, the extremely high mortality rate among these birds is an indirect result of climate change.

According to the French League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), more than 500 guillemots have been found on France's Atlantic coast since the beginning of the year (Urea Alji). These large seabirds feed on fish, after which they can dive to a depth of more than a meter. They are closely related to auks, and – a little further away – to seagulls.

Starving and weakening

As the researchers explained, the birds likely died from exhaustion during the violent storms sweeping the eastern Atlantic this season. Guillemots have relatively low energy reserves and must feed regularly, which means they have difficulty finding food during storms. Although the death of a small number of individuals is not unusual, scientists are concerned about the unprecedented scale of this phenomenon.

– Antoine Preville of Sea Shepherd, an organization that protects marine animals, told Reuters: – We find them almost every day on the beaches we monitor.

According to Jerome Fort of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the unusually high mortality rate among guillemots is linked to winter storms in the Atlantic. Due to climate change, these storms are becoming more frequent and more violent, threatening seabirds. Animals can also be weakened by pollutants entering their bodies.

Dead guillemots were found on French beachesReuters/C Shepherd France

Reuters, Animal Diversity Network

Main image source: Reuters/C Shepherd France

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