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Home Breaking New Avian Flu Fears as Dead Birds Wash Up on Scottish Coast

New Avian Flu Fears as Dead Birds Wash Up on Scottish Coast

Officials in Scotland are on high alert as hundreds of dead birds have washed up along the country’s coasts, raising concerns about the spread of avian flu. The ongoing threat of the virus has led to the culling of tens of thousands of hens and the implementation of local restrictions.

Authorities are working diligently to determine the cause of the bird deaths, as reports of infected seabirds continue to grow. While the focus of concern is currently centred around the Aberdeenshire area, NatureScot officials have noted an increasing number of fatalities among various species along the east coast of Scotland.

Cases of avian flu have been confirmed among terns at the Forvie National Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire and among kittiwakes on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve. However, there have been mixed results in testing, as some dead birds have tested negative for avian flu.

Although the public is advised not to handle dead birds, Liz Humphreys, the principal seabird ecologist for the British Trust of Ornithology Scotland, has encouraged individuals to report any sightings. She emphasized that despite the initial perception of less catastrophic mortality compared to last year, it is clear that seabirds are still being significantly affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

Alastair MacGugan, the wildlife manager at NatureScot, expressed deep concern about the situation and highlighted the ongoing efforts to make wild bird populations more resilient. He stressed the importance of testing to understand the causes of the current bird deaths, whether it be starvation or avian flu.

These developments come shortly after the lifting of avian influenza prevention zone measures across Great Britain. However, officials have warned that restrictions may be reintroduced if deemed necessary to control the spread of the virus.

Authorities are closely monitoring the situation and working in coordination with the Scottish Government and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) to conduct testing and postmortems on dead birds. These efforts aim to gather a clearer understanding of the current bird deaths and inform appropriate measures to protect wildlife populations.

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