RSPCA no longer accepts injured seabirds due to bird flu risk

RSPCA inspectors rescue an injured bird and (right) seabirds on a cliff

The RSPCA said officials would continue to address reports of sick and injured birds but would not be able to return them to their centers (Image: Getty/RSPCA/PA)

The RSPCA said it had made the “heartbreaking” decision to close its sanctuaries because of the risk of avian flu to seabirds.

Branches across England and Wales will now no longer accept injured birds such as gulls, gannets and fulmars.

The spread of avian influenza is a concern, with high morbidity and mortality rates, particularly among coastal seabirds.

The latest Defra figures confirmed 102 cases of bird flu in England, with two cases each in Wales and Scotland earlier this year.

When avian influenza is confirmed or suspected in poultry or other captive birds, control zones are established to prevent the spread of the disease.

Restrictions may apply within these zones, such as: B. Keeping the birds indoors or not allowing them to move.

There are currently two disease control zones around Bexhill and Hastings in East Sussex due to disease outbreaks which have seen a number of birds humanely killed.

Five other disease control zones are currently in force: two in Shropshire, two in Nottinghamshire and one in Derbyshire.

Yellow bird flu quarantine barrier against defocused background. Horizontal composition with copy space. Avian flu quarantine concept.

Control zones can be established after an outbreak of bird flu (Picture: Getty)

The RSPCA said officials would continue to address reports of sick and injured birds but would be unable to return them to their centers.

A spokesman said: “Tragically, avian flu continues to spread at an alarming rate, with seabird populations being hit the hardest.

“To prevent this highly contagious disease from killing hundreds of our wildlife patients, we have made the difficult decision to close our centers and branches to new seabird intakes.

“These include (but are not limited to) the most common seabird species: gulls, auks, terns, cormorants, shearwaters, gannets and fulmars.

“Our animal rescue teams continue to address reports of sick and injured birds.”

RSPCA Vet Jocelyn Toner added: “Avian flu is having a devastating impact on wild bird life across the country and our teams have been busy responding to calls about sick birds and doing their best to get help to as many as possible .

“It has been devastating for our volunteers, veterinarians and staff – who work for the RSPCA because they love animals – to see so many birds dying from this terrible disease.

“Now it is important that we follow government advice and act to try to slow the spread and keep as many of our birds as safe as possible.”

Branches will still be able to pick up other wildlife.

A spokesman for the RSPCA branch in Thanet, Kent, said: “Such heartbreaking decisions need to be made now in relation to the care of wildlife.

“Let’s hope things get better soon without too many more beautiful birds dying.

“We accept other wildlife at the animal center as needed, but unfortunately cannot accept birds.”

A spokesman for the charity’s Brighton branch said they shared the news “with great sadness”.

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Justin Scacco

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