What about the Spanish bird flu?

What about the Spanish bird flu? The impact of bird flu on seabirds in Europe is known to be disastrous, and Spain is no exception. During this epidemic period, that is, from July 1, 2022 to June 7, 2023, Andalusia, Catalonia, Galicia, Basque Country, Basque Country, Galicia The autonomous region has discovered 7 poultry outbreaks, 1 captive bird outbreak and 117 wild bird outbreaks. Aragon, Castilla Leon, Castilla-La Mancha, Cantabria, Extremadura, Madrid, La Rioja, Asturias, Moore West Asia and Valencia.

The focal points of Valencia’s Albufeira and Ebro Delta Natural Parks deserve particular attention. Both sites are extremely important for marine and aquatic birds. More than 1,000 sandwich tern and black-billed tern carcasses have been removed in the first operation, but it is unclear how many were due to bird flu.

The Ministry of Climate Action of the Autonomous Region of Catalonia confirmed the outbreak of bird flu in the Ebro Delta region, among which the National Reference Laboratory of Algate in Madrid confirmed positive results of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu in three places in July last year. Stuffed Sandwich Tern on the Van Garal Peninsula in the northern Ebro Delta.

Faced with this situation, poultry farms have stepped up monitoring and biosecurity measures. Especially those aiming to avoid contact with wild birds.

Surveillance of seabird populations has also been intensified to quantify the incidence of the disease. However, in the face of a pandemic of this magnitude, extreme precautions and appropriate management measures are necessary to avoid transmission to the most sensitive species.

ICAO, App to Report Coastline Marine Animals

Citizen science action can be very useful for the early detection of new outbreaks of avian influenza or other causes of seabird mortality. To this end, SEO/BirdLife launched the ICAO (Coastal Inspection of Coastal Birds) mobile app in 2021. The Android and IOS versions are available in three languages ​​(Spanish, Portuguese and French) and are completely free.

5- Volunteers register data on shore birds using the ICAO app. © Oriol Allamani

The app allows you to send data on birds and other marine animals found on the coast, dead or alive, with signs of illness/injury. Two types of observations can be selected: observations along transects (ICAO Walk) or as point observations.

Observational data and photos can also be uploaded through the ICAO website. From there you can also consult all the user-supplied information, which has been previously reviewed and verified by SEO/BirdLife experts.

Over 500 users have registered since the launch of the ICAO app until July 2023. Its use has increased significantly since the end of 2022 and was recently renewed within the framework of the Life Seabil project.

During this period, approximately 1,500 records were uploaded for a total of 1,332 birds across Spain. The app is especially useful for documenting mass bird die-offs. Just like what happened on the Mediterranean coast in the winter of 2022, 158 razors were registered. January 2023 in the Atlantic. During this period, 359 puffins spotted on the Iberian Atlantic and Cantabrian coasts were recorded through the app. What about the Spanish bird flu?

What should I do if I find a sick or dead bird?

  • Avoid contact with birds. Although cases of transmission to humans have so far been rare and of low severity, to avoid the risk of zoonotic disease, handling and eradication of birds must be carried out by specialized personnel and personal protective equipment. If you walk your dog, keep it on a leash and within sight to prevent it from devouring dead animals or disturbing sick animals.
  • Call 112 or the appropriate provincial CRF Animal Recovery Center and follow the instructions. Conservation staff will go to designated locations to collect the animals or their carcasses.
  • If you would like to contribute to SEO/BirdLife to improve understanding of causes of seabird mortality, please send observations via the ICAO app for Android and IOS (Apple).

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