Israel hit by ‘worst’ wildlife disaster — Analysis
In Israel, a huge bird flu epidemic caused the deaths of over 5,000 wild birds. A quarter of a million chickens had to be killed
An outbreak of avian flu in Israel has killed at least 5,200 migratory cranes and forced farmers to cull as many as 500,000 poultry birds to contain what has been called the “worst blow to wildlife” in the country’s history.
On Sunday, the dead cranes were found at Hula Nature Reserve in northern Israel. According to local media, around 25,000 cranes may have been seen landing at this popular reserve which lies along an important route for bird migration.
Photographs of park rangers dressed in hazardous-material suits were taken at Hula Lake and elsewhere within the reserve. The birds appeared to have been sick for almost ten days.
“Many of the birds are dead in the middle of the water body, so it’s difficult for them to be taken out,”Uri Naveh was a Senior Scientist at Israel Parks and Nature Authority. She told the news agency AP that there was no cleanup plan and that they were looking for help. “other solutions.”
The Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet met Monday with security experts and doctors to discuss measures to combat the spread H5N1 (bird flu) in Israel. The prime minister’s office said in a statement that no human transmission had been reported so far.
Beware! “extent of the damage was still unclear,”Tamar Zandberg, Environmental Protection Minister, described the spread as “the worst blow to wildlife in the country’s history”Tweeted Sunday.
הפגיעה החמורה ביותר בחיות בר בתולדות המדינה. 5000 עגורים מתים משפעת העופות באגמון החולה, ועוד לא ברור היקף הנזק. ביקרתי שם היום עם נציגי רשות הטבע והגנים וקרן קיימת לישראל pic.twitter.com/i0Qb4CzQAJ
— תמר זנדברג 🟣 (@tamarzandberg) December 26, 2021
According to the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, the virus spread from Moshav Margaliot near the border with Lebanon. The Times of Israel reported, “A truck driver delivered food to chicken coops in Israel. He then took the food to Hula Reserve.”
The Agriculture Ministry stated to the newspaper that Margaliot’s farmers hadn’t reported the outbreak to authorities when it was found. “spread like wildfire.”Also, the ministry detected hotspots of H5N1 in three additional farming communities. These have been since isolated.
A ministry spokesperson stated to AP that the disease was being controlled by the culling of half a billion chickens from the area.
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