14 birds including ten swans found dead as avian flu outbreak confirmed in Poole

Swans in Poole Park. <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Swans in Poole Park. (Image: Newsquest)

TEN swans, three geese and one coot have been found dead in Poole Park following an outbreak of bird flu.

BCP Council has urged residents to avoid all contact with birds, dead or alive, as it follows strict measures to limit the spread of avian flu after an outbreak of infections were reported in the area.

This comes days after several birds in Dorchester were culled after the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 strain was discovered at a premises keeping captive birds.

A BCP Council spokesperson said: “Two birds from Poole Park were tested by Defra (Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) and confirmed as having avian flu, also known as bird flu, on November 25, 2022.

Bournemouth Echo: Avian flu notice following outbreak in Poole Park.
Bournemouth Echo: Avian flu notice following outbreak in Poole Park.

Avian flu notice following outbreak in Poole Park. (Image: Emma Lang)

“Very sadly ten swans, three geese and one coot have been found dead in recent weeks and these have been reported to Defra and removal has been arranged in accordance with government guidelines. Any sick birds are taken care of by the RSPCA.

“There is minimal risk to public health but it is suggested that dogs are kept on leads and all contact with wild birds, dead or alive, should be avoided.

“There is plenty of warning signage around Poole Park and we’re continuing to follow strict biosecurity measures to help limit the spread of avian flu.”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has previously said the strain of bird flu originated in east Asia and has killed tens of thousands of wild birds across the world.

Bournemouth Echo: Swans in Poole Park.
Bournemouth Echo: Swans in Poole Park.

Swans in Poole Park. (Image: Georgina Hill)

Jim Wardill, RSPB England operations director, said: “Bird flu is having a devastating impact on our seabirds – a population already under huge pressure from human impacts including climate change, lack of prey fish, deaths through entanglement in fishing gear and development pressure.

“It is vital to have a coordinated approach to surveillance and testing, disturbance minimisation and public messaging, along with a joined-up strategy regarding arrangements for the poultry sector.”

The UK Health Security Agency has advised that the risk to humans is very low, but people should not touch sick or dead birds.

Visit bcpcouncil.gov.uk/birdflu or email environment@bcpcouncil.gov.uk for more information on avian flu.