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Farne Islands reopen after avian flu outbreak
The Farne Islands are home to a variety of bird species, including puffins, shags, kittiwakes and Arctic terns.
Visitors will be welcomed for the first time in two years.

Inner Farne, one of the Farne Islands cared for by the National Trust, is to re-open for visitors on 25 March 2024.

The National Nature Reserve, which is home to approximately 200,000 seabirds, had been closed for two years following an outbreak of avian influenza among the bird population.

The Farne Islands are home to a variety of bird species, including puffins, shags, kittiwakes and Arctic terns. The birds return to the island, located off the Northumberland coast, to breed each year at the end of March, and leave at the end of summer once their chicks are fully-fledged.

However, the colony was hit by the outbreak of avian influenza in 2022. Rangers collected over 6,000 dead birds in 2022 alone.

While avian influenza was still present in 2023, the rangers recorded a 39 per cent reduction in deaths from the disease, with 3,647 dead birds collected.

The National Trust believes that this could be a sign that some immunity is growing in the community. They have said that they will continue to work with the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to protect the wellbeing of the birds.

From 25 March, Inner Farne will be welcoming visitor boat-landings from the harbour at Seahouses to get a closer look at the island’s wildlife and cultural history. Inner Farne will be the only island to re-open this year, as the National Trust trials a limited opening.

Sophia Jackson, an area ranger for the National Trust, said: “We have been closely monitoring the impact of the disease on our breeding populations as part of international research into bird flu.

“This has shown that the disease has had devastating impacts on some species and at some UK sites making our conservation efforts all the more important. Like at other sites, it seems that the disease has declined in our birds, although we will continue to closely monitor them as the breeding season starts again.”

Image © Shutterstock

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
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RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.