Seagull Deaths at San Francisco Port
Thursday, October 14 2010 @ 05:48 PM EDT
Contributed by: terrytvgal
By: Katie Worth
Examiner Staff Writer
October 12, 2010
A sharp increase in dead seagulls found on three acres of Port of San Francisco land has city and state officials launching an investigation into why the birds are dying.
Occasional dead birds have shown up in years past at the land near Pier 94 just south of Cesar Chavez Street. In the past year, however, the number has taken an abrupt and mysterious flight upward.
Biologists from the Port of San Francisco, Animal Care and Control, the state Department of Fish and Game, and the Golden Gate Audubon Society are working together to get to the bottom of the matter.
Some of the birds were found with animal grease on their bodies, which soaks through feathers and makes them vulnerable to water and cold. Oiled birds commonly die of hypothermia, said Jay Holcomb of the Fairfield-based International Bird Rescue Research Center.
Holcomb said that California Fish and Game biologists are investigating whether the birds may be somehow finding a way into the animal rendering plant owned by Darling International. The facility processes hundreds of millions of tons of animal fat, bones and other products each year into tallow, which is then sold to soap and cosmetics manufacturers or turned into animal food.
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