By Alex Cutler Reporter
AT LEAST 60 herring gulls have been reported dead across Weymouth and Portland following a disease outbreak.
It is understood that the birds have most likely been dying due to a suspected outbreak of avian botulism.
According to the government's Animal and Plant Health Agency, avian botulism is a paralytic and often fatal disease caused by ingestion of toxin produced by bacteria found in rotting plant and animal material.
These outbreaks are frequent in this country but are more common during hot weather and can last for weeks, resulting in several hundreds of bird deaths.
Many of the dead gulls have been found in the swannery at Radipole Lake, near to the The Gurkha restaurant in Weymouth, where there is a build up of green algae – a possible source of the outbreak.
Algae blooms are said to occur naturally in hot weather and the swannery has been affected in previous years.
Bimlashar Gurung, manager of The Gurkha restaurant, said it is starting to affect her business: "Everyone is saying it is our fault but there is nothing we can do.
"I clean up the litter and all the rubbish that everyone leaves, sometimes when our bin is full I take it home myself, but we have been told that we are not allowed to touch the dead birds.