The bodies of 16 seagulls have been recovered in the Colombo and Puttalam areas. The birds, according to eyewitnesses, had died under mysterious circumstances – they had “fallen out of the sky” and remained alive on the ground for up to 12 hours.
The bird carcasses have been sent for examination to the Veterinary Research Institute in Gannoruwa, Peradeniya. Dr. Tharaka Prasad, Deputy Director, Wildlife Health Management, of the Department of Wildlife, is expected to announce the cause of death. All 16 birds had metal rings attached to the tarsus (lower part of leg).
The dead seagulls belong to the species Sooty Gull (Ichthyaetus hemprichii). It is found in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, India, as well as the Middle East and parts of Africa.