PE Ledger

Thousands of Gulf of St. Lawrence seabirds are probably dead of avian flu

PEI

Key takeaways: 

  • Many northern gannets test positive for avian flu.
  • Northern gannets breed in densely-packed colonies, causing it easier for the virus to spread. 

Wildlife officials near the shores of Prince Edward Island are being kept busy gathering sick and dead birds from beaches.

“It’s been keeping us, as well as [the P.E.I. government division of] fish and wildlife and the Canadian Wildlife Service, all very active, for certain,” stated Dr. Megan Jones, Atlantic provincial director of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, and a teacher at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

She said Fisheries and Oceans Canada (D.F.O.) has also been involved. 

Also read: Three more doctors are leaving practices as the P.E.I. patient registry bumps

Wildlife officials near the shores of Prince Edward Island are being kept busy gathering sick and dead birds from beaches

The birds are primarily northern gannets, and 230 have tested positive for avian flu. Jones said the potential toll near the Gulf of St. Lawrence is in the thousands.

Northern gannets breed in densely-packed territories, providing accessible avenues for the virus to spread as the birds come together to nest in the spring.

‘Uncharted habitat

While it has been primarily gannets, two common murres were picked up off a beach in eastern P.E.I. — positive for avian flu in initial tests — and there have been reports of double-crested cormorants in New Brunswick.

Source – cbc.ca

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