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UPDATE: Western Cape Avian Influenza outbreak and Seal deaths

16 Nov 2021

The outbreak of Avian Influenza amongst wild seabirds in the Western Cape continues, with Dyer island in the Overberg that continues to be the biggest problem area.

Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says the numbers of dead birds dying continues to drop with less than 100 dead birds being reported per day at the moment.

“We continue to see Cape Cormorants most affected and the largest losses on the breeding colony of Dyer island where roughly 65 birds are dying per day. All efforts continue to manage the situation, with the primary focus on responding swiftly to areas where dead and sick birds are found and then implementing a clean-up.”

With regards to deaths among seal populations along the coastline of the province, the results of the testing that has been conducted by state veterinarian services remain outstanding.

“The testing is taking awhile longer than previously expected and the results are now expected by Friday this week. We hope to then have clearer answers relating to the seal deaths we are seeing across the province.”

The Disaster Management Centre urges the public across the province to continue to be vigilant and report unusual behaviour or mortalities in any birds to their local municipality, conservation authority or state veterinarian. The SPCA and NSPCA may also be contacted. Contact details for state veterinarians are available at https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services-0#s=Animal-Health-and-Disease-Control

The public is also encouraged to stay away from any seals that have washed up on beaches and to keep dogs away from dead and injured seals. Any seal stranded, whether in the process of dying or dead should be left alone.

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