Avian flu advice
A reported 10 deaths of birds at the Straw’s Bridge Local Nature Reserve in West Hallam over the last couple of weeks will be investigated by Defra amid concerns of a possible Avian Flu outbreak.
Erewash Borough Council has acted immediately following the deaths of the birds – swans and Canadian geese – by liaising with Defra, the RSPCA and Derbyshire County Council Trading Standards Service.
The council stresses that nothing has yet been confirmed but is urging visitors to the popular site, known locally as Swan Lake, to follow some simple rules:
• Please do NOT feed the birds as this leads to them congregating and the close proximity could escalate the spread of any virus.
• Do not touch any dead or sick birds. Please report any sightings to the council and Defra.
The council has also appealed to dog owners to keep their pets on a lead in the area as sick birds will be feeling ill and will not be able to get away from a dog – while the pet could also be at risk of illness.
Councillor Carol Hart. Leader of Erewash Borough Council, says:
“We would stress that nothing has yet been confirmed, we are acting quickly in line with national guidelines. We will continue to monitor the situation and will keep everyone updated. This is such a popular site for families and it is upsetting to see any birds that have died. But until we know more, I would urge everyone who visits the site to refrain from feeding the birds and I back the call for dog owners to keep their pets on a lead.”
Full details of what to do if you find dead swans, geese or other wild birds can be found at www.gov.uk – search for Avian Flu. Please report any dead birds at the site to the council on 0115 907 22 44 and contact the Defra helpline 03459 33 55 77.