“This year, for example, more than 22,000 seabirds, mainly pelicans, died in Peru,” denounces the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) on Friday.
The avian flu epizootic that is wreaking havoc on poultry farms is also causing a “hecatomb” in wildlife, alerted the association, asking for “sustainable solutions” including a change in poultry production methods.
“What is singular is the impact on wildlife,” noted Allain Bougrain Dubourg, president of the LPO during a workshop devoted to this question.
"The H5N1 avian flu has affected wildlife" and "never has there been a slaughter like the one that was verified in 2021/2022", he underlined.
A colony of Gannets decimated in Brittany
France was not spared, with for example a colony of Northern gannets decimated in Brittany but also griffon vultures affected in Aveyron.
" Who is guilty ?
Is it the farms that convey H5N1 to wildlife or is it the wildlife that is to blame and the farms that are the victims?
There are both, ”assured Allain Bougrain Dubourg.
Dr François Moutou, veterinarian and member of the scientific council of the LPO, considered that it was "difficult to conclude" on the origin and underlined the role of exchanges between the different populations.
During the emergence of the virus in Asia, "we saw several exchanges between wild and domestic birds with strains which, at the start, were always weakly pathogenic and at one point, in a farm, this combination of strains gave the strain highly pathogenic H5N1,” he noted.
The LPO called for “lasting solutions” to the problem, considering the current measures insufficient.
"It is essential to review the models of the different poultry production systems, it is becoming urgent to reduce the density of farms, to improve the sanitary conditions of detention, to limit the stress conditions of the animals detained (...) to raise local breeds that are more resistant to viruses, ”claimed Allain Bougrain Dubourg.