East Yorkshire seabirds to be monitored after porpoise death #East #Yorkshire #seabirds #monitored #porpoise #death #englishheadline


Wildlife workers worried that bird flu is spreading to marine mammals have said they are monitoring seabirds on the Yorkshire coast.

Their concerns come after a dead harbour porpoise found in East Yorkshire last month tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

Government health officials said “the risk of the H5N1 strain to non-avian UK wildlife remains low.”

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said seabird colonies would be tested for outbreaks.

Trust spokeswoman Ana Cowie said: “We’re very lucky in Yorkshire to have a wealth of incredible wildlife along our coastline and the fact that this is transferring between species is really, really concerning.

“Our seabirds are just returning to the Yorkshire cliffs now so we’ll be watching very carefully to check for signs of avian flu.”

A report by the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said 21 dead mammals, including seals, dolphins, foxes and otters, had tested positive at various locations around the UK since the start of 2022.

Seabirds a Bempton Cliffs

Seabird colonies along the Yorkshire coast will be monitored for signs of avian flu

APHA said that although avian flu predominantly affected birds “the virus can infect mammals”.

It said samples taken from the porpoise in East Yorkshire and two dolphins in Wales and Devon had detected the presence of the H5N1 virus.

“The animals were found dead, and it is very likely they had predated on infected wild birds,” an APHA spokesperson said.

“The presence of influenza of avian origin in mammals is not new, although it is uncommon, and the risk of the H5N1 strain to non-avian UK wildlife remains low.”

The agency warned people not to touch any sick or dead wild animals and to wash hands thoroughly with soap after contact with any animal.

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