East Winch Wildlife Center

East Winch, Norfolk Island

East Winch Wildlife Center

East Winch, Norfolk Island
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Morrison C.,University of East Anglia | Sparling C.,University of St. Andrews | Sadler L.,RSPCA HQ | Charles A.,East Winch Wildlife Center | And 2 more authors.
Marine Mammal Science | Year: 2012

The efficacy of seal rehabilitation is examined in a postrelease study of dive ability in harbor seal pups (Phoca vitulina) in the Wash, United Kingdom. Six rehabilitated seals were fitted with Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) Argos Satellite Relay Data Logger tags and their individual dive behavior was monitored for an average of 122 d. The upper 90 percentile edge of dive behavior (dive duration [DD 90] and percentage of time at-sea spent in a dive [PD 90]), in 7 d bins, was used as a proxy for physiological dive ability. The results are compared with data from five wild adult harbor seals. There was no statistically significant difference between (1) the mean track duration of rehabilitated seals (126.20 ± 27.48 [SD] d) and adult seals (150.2 ± 24.62 d) (P= 0.108), indicating no evidence that short-term survival was less in the rehabilitated group; (2) the mean mass-scaled DD 90 of rehabilitated seals (3.95 ± 0.37 min) and adult seals (4.09 ± 0.55 min) (P= 0.632); and (3) the mean PD 90 of rehabilitated seals (81.62 ± 1.21%) and adult seals (81.48 ± 3.93%) (P= 0.943). These three results all suggest the success of the rehabilitation program in terms of short-term survival and dive ability. © 2011 by the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

Bexton S.,East Winch Wildlife Center | Thompson D.,University of St. Andrews | Brownlow A.,Scottish Agricultural College SAC Wildlife Unit | Barley J.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Mammals | Year: 2012

Between June 2008 and December 2010, 76 dead pinnipeds were found on the coast of the United Kingdom with peculiar injuries consisting of a single continuous curvilinear skin laceration spi-ralling down the body. The skin and blubber had been sheared from the underlying fascia and, in many cases, the scapula also had been avulsed from the thoracic wall. Although previously unre-ported in the UK, similar distinctive lesions had been described in Canadian pinnipeds where they were referred to as corkscrew injuries. In the UK, identical injuries were seen in both native species of pinniped, with 43 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) (57%) and 26 grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) (34%) affected, and seven carcasses (9%) for which the species could not be determined. There were two apparent seasonal peaks in incidence; predominantly adult harbor seals were discovered during the summer and juvenile grey seals during the winter. Postmortem examinations of 20 harbor seals revealed they had been alive and healthy when the injuries were sustained, with no evidence of any underlying disease or disability. Based on the pathological findings, it was concluded that mortality was caused by a sudden traumatic event involving a strong rotational shearing force. The injuries were consistent with the animals being drawn through the ducted propellers of marine vessels and, in some cases, there was a direct cor-relation with the presence of work boats operating in the vicinity. This challenges the conclusions of a previous study in Canada that suggested natural predation by Greenland sharks (Somniosus micro-cephalus) was likely to be responsible for these injuries.

Kelly A.,Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center | Kelly A.,Queen's University of Belfast | Leighton K.,East Winch Wildlife Center | Newton J.,Scottish Enterprise
British Birds | Year: 2010

The stable isotopes of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen were analysed in two generations of feather growth in a second- or third-calendar-year female Eagle Owl Bubo bubo found in Norfolk in November 2006.We found that the juvenile primaries and secondaries had a consistently low δ2H signature, while second-generation remiges, and body feathers, revealed higher values. The pattern in δ2H between the two generations of feathers from the Norfolk bird corresponds with the known moult patterns of Eagle Owls and suggests that the two generations of feathers were grown in different geographical regions. Although there are a number of alternative explanations for the findings, it seems most likely that the owl was reared somewhere with low local δ2H precipitation values. An origin in Scandinavia, north-continental Europe or mid-continental Russia is consistent with our findings, but we cannot rule out the possibility that the bird was reared in northern Britain, either in the wild or in captivity. © British Birds.

Troisi G.,Brunel University | Barton S.,Kingston University | Bexton S.,East Winch Wildlife Center
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy | Year: 2016

Accidental spillage of oil in to the sea from shipping transport and drilling rigs results in spills that cause significant unsustainable mortality of wildlife and destroys marine ecosystem services. External oiling of seabirds causes large scale mortality within days following a spill, while survivors suffercauses long term chronic effects from the exposure to toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in ingested oil. Survival rates for rehabilitated oiled birds are very low despite investment of significant resources. PAHs disturb thyroid homeostasis which plays a vital role in the control of energy metabolism. In this study, plasma PAH and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) were quantified as biomarkers of exposure and endocrine disruption in oiled guillemots (Uria aalge). Mean plasma PAH and TSH concentrations, were 98.1 ± 8.3 ng/ml and 0.13 ± 0.02 ng/ml and these parameters were found to be negatively correlated (p < 0.01) indicative of PAH-associated thyroid hormone suppression in more heavily oiled birds. Body condition and weight were also lower in birds that died compared with birds that were released. The data also show the value of measuring plasma TSH and PAH to monitor metabolic status and progress of decontamination of oiled birds in a rehabilitation setting. © 2016 The Authors.

PubMed | East Winch Wildlife Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Veterinary record | Year: 2016

Ocular pathology is relatively common in stranded seals admitted to wildlife rehabilitation hospitals. Some have pre-existing problems, while others develop eye problems in captivity, and in particular ulcerative keratitis, due to factors such as large prominent eyes, suboptimal water quality, trauma and infighting. Despite treatment, corneal ulcerations can rapidly progress to melting ulcers with subsequent rupture of the globe. In this case series, 32 grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) had conjunctival swabs taken on admission to a UK wildlife hospital to identify ocular bacterial flora and nine had subsequent swabs taken after four weeks to see if this changed in captivity. Additionally, nine seals with ocular pathology were also swabbed. Although a wide range of bacteria were cultured on admission, the most common isolates were Gemella haemolysans, Escherichia coli and Clostridium perfringens All melting ulcers were associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which suggests this bacterial species may be significant in the pathogenesis of progressive stromal ulceration in grey seals.

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