The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs is encouraging the public not to pick up or touch any dead or injured wild birds.
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is currently circulating in wild birds, especially breeding seabirds around the UK’s coasts, causing significant mortality in some species. To date, there has been only one confirmed HPAI seabird death in Northern Ireland.
However, dead seabirds have been removed from Rathlin Island for testing, and others have been very recently reported on the North Coast. There remains the potential for this situation to deteriorate, and so the public using coastal areas over the coming weeks are reminded of the following advice:-
- Do not pick up or touch sick, dying or dead birds, and keep pets away from them
- Dead wild birds should be reported to the DAERA helpline 0300 200 7840, however not all will be collected for surveillance
- An Avian Influenza Hub with further advice can be found on the DAERA website at the following link: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/wild-birds-and-advice-public
- Where dead wild birds are not required for surveillance purposes, it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcasses.
The Department is working with stakeholders, has taken proactive measures to improve biosecurity at seabird breeding colonies, and continues to monitor this situation.