The highly infectious avian flu is killing raptors, ducks, geese, seabirds and even foxes

The highly infectious avian flu is killing raptors, ducks, geese, seabirds and even foxes



Peter Stronach, an ecologist and wildlife photographer, couldn’t believe what he was witnessing as he went along the coastline of a Highland lake on a beautiful May evening. Male eider ducks, numerous species of gulls, a gannet, a puffin, and no fewer than 26 pink-footed geese, all of which should have been on their way back to their Icelandic breeding grounds, littered the shoreline.

On that single day, Stronach counted 72 individual birds of 17 species at Loch Fleet national nature reserve on Scotland’s east coast, plus many more in the days that followed.

These birds, on the other hand, had not been slain by a passing predator or the unfortunate victims of a violent storm at sea. A highly infectious – and frequently fatal – virus was the cause of these deaths. The avian influenza H5N1 virus, also known as bird flu, has returned with a vengeance.

Stronach is more concerned about the diversity of species he discovered. “We first observed avian flu in geese earlier this spring; however, it has since spread to other wildfowl, raptors, and seabirds.”

It used to just happen in the winter, but now, he claims, it’s harming the breeding populations of iconic coastal animals like the eider.

Lead Image: One of the dead birds found by Peter Stronach at Loch Fleet nature reserve, near Dornoch, Scotland. Photograph: Peter Stronach.

Read Full Article

What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.


payment

Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

close
Vanished - Megascops Choliba by Jose Garcia Allievi

Discover hidden wildlife with our FREE newsletters

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Supertrooper

Founder and Executive Editor

Share this post with your friends




Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

guest
2 Comments