ENVIRONMENT: Rise in bird arrivals thought to be due to risk of bird flu

Geese and ducks pictured in a country small-holding at Cardross, near Dumbarton. Top: Ducks pictured in the River Leven at Renton. Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Lucy Ashton

The Scottish SPCA has seen an 825% rise in the number of birds arriving in its care thought to be due to the threat of bird flu.

From December 1 to January 31, 37 birds were admitted in to the SPCA centres.

This is compared to just four for the same period a year ago.

Their animal helpline saw a 280% increase in the number of calls about bird flu since it was reported to have entered the country in November.

825% rise in bird arrivals thought to be due to risk of bird flu.

Chief superintendent Mike Flynn, formerly based at Milton Rescue Centre,  said, “The increase in the number of birds arriving with us is very concerning.

“There have been confirmed cases of bird flu infecting commercial poultry in Orkney but this has now been managed and there is no longer a threat.

“Recent reports confirmed avian influenza had infected kept gamebirds near Leven, Glenrothes.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is managing the situation and in order to limit the further spread of the disease, appropriate restrictions have been imposed and the remaining birds will be humanely culled under the Animal Health Act 1981. 

“We would like to remind members of the public that the majority of cases of bird flu are being seen in migratory birds and as long as the mandatory precautions are followed for domestic and commercial poultry, the risk of incursion remains at a medium level for poultry with high bio-security.

“Should anyone discover a group of deceased birds; this could mean they died after being infected with bird flu.

“Wild birds can carry several diseases that are infectious to people, so do not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

“We know that the threat of avian flu is a worry for owners but there is never an excuse for abandoning an animal.

“It is an offence punishable by law.

“If anyone finds an abandoned animal then they should contact our animal helpline 03000 999 999.”

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