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B.C. eagle deaths on the rise, says wildlife expert, but cause remains unknown

A wildlife professional is anxious the outbreak of avian flu in B.C. might be contributing to a dramatic drop in younger eagles within the southwestern a part of the province.

David Hancock, director of the Hancock Wildlife Basis, displays a number of hundred eagle nests between White Rock and Squamish.

He estimates that this yr the manufacturing of recent eagle chicks is simply 20 per cent of regular, maybe as a result of matching pairs will not be laying eggs or as a result of the chicks are dying.

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Hancock stated there are a selection of attainable components within the fowl’s deaths, together with avian flu.

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Different components might be the poisoning of rodents to make manner for extra blueberry fields or the declining salmon inhabitants or a mixture of all of them.

Some recently-deceased eagles in B.C. have been confirmed to have died from avian flu, Hancock added.

Watchers observed some eagles having bother laying their eggs, then some birds deserted the nests early, which suggests the infant died.

Hancock stated, this yr, there are at present 23 nests on the White Rock Peninsula and solely 5 with younger in them.

“It’s devastating, they’ve all simply deserted their eggs, chicks, or they’ve simply died. However we don’t know.”

He stated they’ve by no means seen such a decline of eagles on the West Coast earlier than.

The provincial authorities has confirmed wild birds in or close to 100 Mile Home, Bowen Island, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Metro Vancouver, Vanderhoof and Williams Lake have examined optimistic for the H5 strains of avian influenza.

Based on the BCCDC, wild aquatic birds, similar to gulls, terns, geese, geese, and swans, are the pure reservoir (hosts) of nearly all influenza A subtypes.

Nonetheless, the group stated that pressure not often causes any deaths within the wild and are sometimes low pathogenic. It might probably unfold from these birds to home poultry the place it turns into extremely pathogenic.

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Hancock stated some dad and mom are reluctant to depart their chicks who’ve died so generally it’s onerous for specialists to look at what they may have died from.

“Typically, the adults guard their newly-fledged chicks for about seven, eight days after which they abandon the chick, they only go away them,” he stated.

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“The children keep across the nest web site for about 4 or 5 days they usually get hungrier and hungrier.”

He stated they often then comply with their dad and mom north to northern B.C. and Alaska to feast on the useless salmon there.

“So we’ve a really small window between August and September when there aren’t any eagles within the Fraser Valley,” Hancock added. “Most individuals don’t acknowledge this.”

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He stated they put the primary live-streaming digital camera in an eagle’s nest within the spring of 2006.

They now have 5 completely different nests with cameras and 62 years of collective footage.

Nonetheless, the muse displays about 600 territories of eagle’s nests within the Fraser Valley.

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Latest outbreaks of avian flu have been confirmed on farms in British Columbia and Alberta by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

In early June, outbreaks have been declared in small flocks at three widely-separated B.C. farms in Peace River, Sechelt and Summerland.

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A further business outbreak was reported in Langley Township on June 8 that introduced the entire variety of contaminated farms within the province to 16.

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“We’re having a devastating decline,” Hancock stated. “Is that this going to proceed for just a few years or is that this going to work its manner out? We don’t but know that.”

Earlier this month, the B.C. authorities confirmed the Ministry of Agriculture and Meals “continues to work intently with the CFIA and B.C. poultry producers to make sure enhanced prevention and preparedness measures are in place to guard poultry flocks.”

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