The bird flu case is the first recorded case in the area and has been described as “worrying” and the public are being urged to report any further cases if they spot any dead birds
Image: WESSEX NEWS AGENCY)
Experts have warned more “worrying” cases of bird flu are to come after 30 dead seagulls were found on a picturesque beach.
Herring gulls were found dead on Longrock Beach, Penzance and were found to have had tested positive for the condition.
It is the first recorded case of bird flu in the Cornwall area and has been described as “worrying” by experts, reports CornwallLive.
Cornwall Live told how a member of the public found 30 dead seagulls on Longrock Beach, Penzance whilst waking her dog.
She reported the matter to the Cornish Wildlife Trust who passed the matter on to Government department DEFRA.
It then confirmed five birds tested were all found to have avian influenza, otherwise known as bird flu.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust said the Longrock cases were the first confirmed case of bird flu ever to be recorded in the Trust’s marine strandings database of over 10,000 records.
It said: “On January 18 and 19, the Trust’s Marine Strandings Hotline was alerted to the mass stranding by several members of the public.
“Approximately 20 birds were discovered on Longrock Beach and a further 14 found on Marazion Beach.
“The matter was passed over from the trust to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) due to the rarity of the case.
“Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency have now confirmed that all five of the adult birds that were collected have tested positive for the disease.”
The recent news gives local marine conservationists cause for concern, according to the trust’s marine conservation officer Abby Crosby.
Cornwall Live WS)
She said: “It’s very sad to hear about this case, as with all strandings of dead animals found around our coastline.
“Seabirds face numerous threats in our marine environment such as lack of prey, habitat loss and bycatch, so to hear that this disease is also impacting populations is terribly upsetting.
“Unfortunately, we may hear of more stories like this in Cornwall as bird flu continues to be a high risk around the country.
“It’s essential that people stay alert when visiting the beach. Please report any dead marine animal that you find to our hotline immediately whilst keeping your distance.
“We support and train over 150 volunteers every year to record stranded seabirds, seals and everything in between.
“This data is vital in helping us understand the threats our wildlife is facing and the overall health of our marine environment.”
Bird flu is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.
However, the public should remain vigilant and should avoid touching or picking up any dead or visibly sick animal that they find.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust is encouraging those who have found a dead marine animal to call its 24-hour Marine Strandings Network hotline.
Dead wild waterfowl and seabirds – such as gulls, swans, geese and birds of prey – can also be reported to the national Defra.
The public should remain vigilant and avoid touching or picking up any dead or visibly sick animal that they find.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.