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Worst of avian flu is ‘over’

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
Worst of avian flu is ‘over’

BIRD deaths from avian flu appear to be slowing down in the region, according to wildlife experts.

The team at Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve this week posted an update on the avian influenza outbreak locally.

In a statement, they said: “This week we completed the latest round of dead bird counts which we have been carrying out regularly since the start of the avian flu outbreak in early November 2021. Although we are still finding fresh carcasses and sick birds, it appears for now, that the worst is over and we are seeing a slowing down of deaths since the peak in late December.”

And they revealed that the total actual count of dead barnacle geese found on the Caerlaverock reserve between Nov 5 and Feb 2 was 2024.

Furthermore, the total actual count around the Solway was over 4600, with a further 300 birds covering a range of species.

The reserve team added: “Actual counts are only a representative of the total, given the size of the Solway coast and the availability of resource to carry out comprehensive counts, it wouldn’t be unexpected if one third of the barnacle population had been affected.

“We will have a better understanding of the overall impact once we see the counts from birds returning to Svalbard in the summer.

“We will continue our checks until the end of April but hopefully this is the last of the grim story for this winter.”

Meanwhile, it has been announced that biosecurity protocols will remain in place on the reserve while there are still sick birds.

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