Dead animals prompt bird flu alert at region's beauty spots

An investigation is underway after dead birds were discovered at two Midlands beauty spots as the country is declared a bird flu prevention zone.

Chasewater Country Park
Chasewater Country Park

Members of the public are being urged not to touch any sick or dead wild birds after suspected cases were spotted at Chasewater in Staffordshire, and at Stubbers Green nature reserve near Shelfield, in Walsall.

Officers from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have collected the dead birds from both sites and tests are being carried out.

As part of efforts to prevent potential disease spreading to poultry and captive birds, England was declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone on November 3.

Chasewater and Shutt Green in Staffordshire and Chelmarsh near Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, are among areas listed as being at 'higher risk' of avian flu.

Walsall's public health director Stephen Gunther said: “We are awaiting results of the investigations by DEFRA. At this stage, it is very important that people do not touch any sick live birds, or bird carcasses. Infection control measures may be necessary if they do so. The area is also closed for fishing."

“I would also urge bird-keepers to be vigilant for any signs of disease, to report any suspicions of disease to Defra and make sure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises.”

Councillor Stephen Craddock, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing in Walsall said: “It is important that you completely avoid contact with sick or dead birds, therefore I would also remind people not to feed the birds at Stubbers Green.

“I want to reassure local people that the affected area of the site will shortly have advisory signage in place. However, if you see any sick or dead birds, either by the waterway, or on your own private land, please leave them alone and call the council.”

The virus is highly transmissible in birds,and there have been no reported cases of any cross infection to humans.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust head of nature reserves and species recovery Jeff Sim said: "We're aware of reports that avian flu is spreading among the UK's population of water foul and wild birds such as gulls or birds of prey."

Anyone who finds dead swans, geese, ducks, or other dead wild birds should report it to the relevant council or to the DEFRA helpline on 03459 335577.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News