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North-east animal sanctuary suspends wild bird intake due to Avian Influenza situation

By David Porter

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Cases were found in species of swans last year and there are growing concerns over the spread of the disease again this year.
Cases were found in species of swans last year and there are growing concerns over the spread of the disease again this year.

The New Arc Sanctuary has announced that it has made the decision in light of the current situation surrounding Avian Influenza to suspend its normal acceptance of wild birds into its care.

In a statement the charity which is based near Ellon explained: "Due to the increase of Avian Influenza in the UK, and after discussion with our vets, we have made the very difficult decision to not accept wild birds in The New Arc Hospital until further notice.

"This is a temporary situation and we will update as soon as the risk is lower.

"In 15 years we have never had to take such severe measures, even through the worst of the Covid pandemic we continued to stay open to help all wildlife casualties.

"This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we have to let our heads rule our hearts regarding this situation.

"Avian Influenza is a notifiable disease and the risk is very real - with so many resident birds onsite, and those already in the hospital receiving treatment, our priority has to be to keep them as safe as we can.

"If we were to take in just one wild bird carrying Avian Influenza, then the reality is that we would be closed by APHA and all birds at the Centre currently would be culled, regardless of whether they were wild or resident, fit or poorly."

Information on Avian Influenza is available from www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said that avian influenza is primarily a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low, however you should not touch or pick up any dead or visibly sick birds that you find.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline 03459 33 55 77.

They stressed: "We are still available for advice, and assistance as much as we can, and you can contact us on 0796 225 3867 as usual

"Thank you for your understanding."

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