Hundreds of #Pengiuns continue to die due to #BirdFlu on #HalifaxIsland, #Namibia, #Africa
Photo by Luqman Cloete
HIGHLY pathogenic avian influenza continues to wipe out penguins at the Halifax Island beach near Lüderitz.
The Lüderitz Maritime Research Group estimated on its Facebook page that more than 500 penguins have died since the first bird flu outbreak towards the end of last year.
“Unfortunately, there is another confirmation that the mortality is continuing unabated. As of today, 345 penguin carcasses, excluding chicks, were recovered from the island and nearby beaches… the real toll is by now probably in excess of 500 birds, mostly breeding adults,” a recent post on the group’s Facebook page reads.
According to the group, they have noticed that most of the affected penguins are clustered around “colony 2” on the south side of the island, and in particular near a muddy patch adjoining this colony.
“As the virus H5N8 can survive for weeks in a wet environment, we suspect that this mud patch might be a factor in the continuing mortalities as it is crossed daily by adult penguins returning from the sea,” the Facebook post further reads.
The group said the fisheries ministry’s officials had recently spread buckets of salt over the mud patch in an attempt to lower the rate of infection.
Dr Jean-Paul Roux, a member of the research group, who spoke to The Namibian yesterday, said the damage in terms of the dying penguins might be more serious because it is not known whether the outbreak had spread to the three adjacent Possession, Ichaboe and Mercury islands.
Courtesy of namibian.com.na