Four cases of bird flu detected in Boulders Penguin Colony, Simons Town

Western Cape Veterinary Services have confirmed that at least four new bird flu cases were detected in the Boulders Penguin Colony, in Simons Town.

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds says they suspect another seven cases, but they have not been confirmed yet.

In a statement, the Table Mountain National Park said this strain of bird flu, also known as avian flu, has been detected in a range of wild seabirds, which includes African penguins, Cape Cormorants, Swift, Sandwich and Common Terns, and Cape Gannets since May 2021.

‘’There a currently an estimated 3000 penguins in Simon’s Town, so the affected numbers are still very low at this stage. South African National Parks (SANParks), Western Cape Veterinary Services, City of Cape Town, SANCCOB and other seabird rehabilitation centres, are closely monitoring the situation and will assess the need for further action.’’

The virus, it says, has a low risk for humans, but is a threat to domestic poultry.

Table Mountain National Park said closing the Boulders colony to visitors is not justified at this stage, but urged visitors to stay on designated boardwalks.

‘’TMNP and its conservation partners are also taking precautions to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes limiting access to the breeding colony, including researchers, and applying strict disinfection of footwear when staff leave the colony. Dead and sick birds will also be removed and transferred to SANCCOB for assessment and possible testing,’’ it said in a statement.


PICTURE: Peter Chadwick - African Conservation Photographer


Done By: Mitchum George


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