The Western Cape’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning says they are still trying to manage an ongoing outbreak of Avian Influenza amongst wild seabirds in the province.
According to the department, the worst affected area continues to be Dyer island, a bird breeding colony in the Overberg region where roughly 500 Cape Cormorants are dying per day.
Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, Anton Bredell indicated that there are wild seabirds in the area, however, there are reports coming in from various areas across the coastal region of the province, which is a very large area to manage.
Bredell says the Cape Cormorant, an endangered seabird, is the most affected by the disease with roughly 10500 dead cape cormorants reported to date.
” Recent reports of dead seals found along some coastal regions are not currently a cause for concern as there is no evidence suggesting these deaths may be as a result of exposure to the Avian Influenza,” Bredell said.
He added that the seal deaths appear to be a result of a lack of food rather than exposure to Avian Influenza.
” Nonetheless, the DFFE is already urgently investigating the cause of mortality amongst seals and we will report back on the findings when they do come through,” Bredell mentioned.
Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Centre urges the public to continue to be vigilant and report unusual mortalities in any birds to their local municipality, conservation authority or state veterinarian. The SPCA and NSPCA can be contacted here.