It’s always sad to find a dead wild animal along the coastline. Please don’t pick up or touch dead seabirds or marine mammals that you find along the coast. Most of the time you won’t need to take any action. If left alone, the remains of dead animals will provide food for other wildlife and degrade naturally over time. However, there are a few circumstances in which you may need to report your sighting, either for public safety or to contribute to science.
Suspected Avian Flu
Please report dead birds if you come across:
· 1 or more dead bird of prey, gull, swan, goose or duck in the same place
· 5 or more dead wild birds of any other species in the same place
You can report these sightings online using this link or call Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) on 03459 335577. They will take a record of this and may send an officer out to collect samples to test for Avian Flu.
Dead birds on public beaches
If you feel that a dead bird or other wild animal is causing a threat to human health due to its size or location, you can contact the local council to request its removal. We advise that you do not attempt to remove or dispose of the animal yourself.
Tracking devices and bird rings
If you see a tracking device or leg ring on a dead bird and if it’s possible to read it without touching the bird, you can report it to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) via the link here.
Reports will help organisations like the BTO to better understand seabird species and their national/international movements. In the long-term, information like this helps us to better protect seabirds and the habitats they rely on to survive.
Dead marine mammals
You can report dead marine mammals including whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals to The Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS) here. SMASS are also interested in receiving reports of dead basking sharks and turtles. Please read the advice and requirements on the SMASS website carefully to ensure that you have collected all of the necessary information.
If you feel that a dead wild animal is causing a threat to human health due to its size or location, you can contact the local council to request its removal. We advise that you do not attempt to remove or dispose of the animal yourself.
If you find a dead otter, no matter its condition, please call the International Otter Survival Fund in the first instance, so they can quickly arrange to collect and transport the body. The relevant number for Scotland is: 01471 822487.
For more information about what to do if you find a wild otter, visit the UK Wild Otter Trust webpage here.