DEFRA has recently confirmed three cases of avian flu (bird flu) in Lincolnshire, Carmarthenshire and North Yorkshire. But what does this mean for climbers and walkers?
Firstly it’s worth calming any concerns. Current advice is that the risk to the public is low, but it still worth being aware of the situation, particularly as some of the species affected are ones that climbers or walkers could encounter whilst out on the crags and hills.
The main species identified currently are waterfowl (such as ducks, swans and geese) as well as gulls and raptors, but all dead wild birds are to be treated with caution. Given raptors such as peregrines and gulls are often found on crags, sea cliffs and mountainous areas it’s worth keeping an eye out whilst out and about.
The key advice is very simple. Physical contact with contaminated birds should be avoided to prevent any potential transmission of the disease – even though the likelihood of transmission to humans is low, it’s important to prevent spread of the disease to bird populations elsewhere.
If you find a dead wild bird, don’t touch it and call the DEFRA helpline on 03459 33 55 77 with the location of the carcass. DEFRA will then collect some of these birds and test them to help build understanding of how the disease is distributed geographically and in different types of bird.
The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
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