The United Kingdom’s largest animal welfare charity has received multiple calls since June 21 about drunken seagulls teetering and vomiting on beaches in southwest England.
“At first the birds look like they have botulism but then, after vomiting, most seem to recover,” Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals officer Jo Daniel said in a press release. A few of the seagulls have died.
Experts with the charity believe the birds are getting sick after consuming waste products from a local alcohol producer or brewery, the Somerset County Gazette reported.
Another theory is that they’re getting into discarded cans of beer strewn along nearby beaches.
RSPCA vet David Couper, who told the Gazette he treated a number of the drunken gulls, has urged vets who notice similar symptoms in birds coming in to avoid euthanizing them as they may recover from the effects of alcohol.
“The birds appear disoriented and confused and struggle to stand. We took some video of one of the birds who is staggering around and losing his balance just like a person would if they’d had too much to drink,” Couper said.
RSPCA officers are also urging local distilleries and breweries to ensure their waste is secure and away from wildlife.