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California sees surge in cases of malnourished pelicans
Testing hasn't revealed any evidence of diseases that could be causing the surge.
Hundreds are being brought into rescue centres.

Animal rescue centres in the US state of California are seeing a surge in malnourished and injured brown pelicans needing treatment.

Since 20 April 2024, two centres run by Bird Rescue have seen more than 250 pelicans arrive. At least 40 per cent have had significant injuries.

Other local rescue centres have also reported significant numbers of pelicans being brought in.

Rebecca Duerr, Bird Rescue's director of research and veterinary science, said: “Most birds are coming in cold, emaciated and anaemic – essentially starving to death. Many of them are exhibiting severe injuries – especially from fishing hooks and line.”

Many of the pelicans have been found in unexpected locations away from their usual coastal habitats, including at a fire station in Malibu and a lake at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

The situation is being assessed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, alongside the US Fish and Wildlife Service and local organisations.

Testing of birds being admitted to rescue centres has so far not revealed evidence of avian influenza or any other disease that could be causing the surge in cases. Postmortems are being carried out on birds which have died.

A similar situation occurred in California in 2022, when almost 800 malnourished pelicans were taken in by rescue centres. 394 of the birds went on to be successfully returned to the wild.

Image © Shutterstock

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.