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UPDATE: Western Cape Avian Influenza outbreak and Seal deaths

24 Nov 2021

The outbreak of Avian Influenza amongst wild seabirds in the Western Cape has seen an estimated 21172 dead birds with 13195 birds dying on Dyer island off Gansbaai. The Cape Cormorant remains most affected with 20558 dead Cape Cormorants recorded to date.

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

“The numbers remain low but constant at the moment. 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. We believe if the efforts are let up, the numbers may increase again so all our stakeholder continue to work hard to address the situation where it crops 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.

“We are waiting for the results which we hope will provide clearer answers relating to the seal deaths we are seeing across the province. It is an ongoing cause of concern and we hope to see the results soon.”

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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