The Western Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning says an Avian Influenza outbreak amongst wild seabirds continues to affect the coastal regions of the province with Dyer Island in the Overberg being an area of great concern.
According to the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, efforts continue to bring the outbreak under control but cautions that the situation may continue for another few weeks.
“It is a very complex situation to manage considering these are wild seabirds all along the coast of the Western Cape. At the moment we are most concerned about Dyer Island where an estimated 500 birds per day are dying. Dyer Island is a breeding colony where the birds are in close proximity to one another and the infections are spiking,” Bredell said.
Bredell said further that other main hotspots include De Mond Nature Reserve and the Bergrivier Municipality area where the outbreak was first seen.
” We continue to ask the public to work with us and not to approach or transport any sick or dead birds. Rather let us know so we can respond at speed. At the moment the Cape Cormorant species are most affected however, we are particularly concerned about the Bank Cormorant, a unique species of Cormorant which is extremely rare and may also be affected. We are also grateful for the cooperation and help from all the partners involved,” Bredell indicated.
In the meantime, the Disaster Management Centre has also asked the public to be vigilant and report unusual mortalities in any birds to their local municipality, conservation authority or state veterinarian. The SPCA may also be contacted. Contact details for state veterinarians are available here.