Hunting migrating birds doubles avian flu threat



TAGBILARAN CITY, August 25, 2017 (PIA) –There is another strong reason why hunting wildlife as defined by the Conservation and Protection of Wildlife Resources and their Habitats Act is bad.

The onset of an avian  influenza (bird flu) outbreak in Pampanga and in Jaen in Nueva Ecija makes it possible for migratory birds on a pit stop in the Candaba marshes of Pampanga can be potential carriers of the deadly virus that can mutate and affect humans, health professionals said.

Wildlife conservationists see Candaba as an important staging and wintering site of migratory birds, it being part of the East Asia Pacific Migratory Flyway.

Candaba, a popular nesting, wintering and feeding site for birds escaping from the harsh winters in the north, is also home to local birds and ducks, well within the outbreak affected sites.

As the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) totally protects 47 of these sites, 23 sites are partially protected and another 47 sites are not protected, according to the government environment agency.

Over that, several areas in Bohol which hosts migrating birds, ducks and mallards are not in the list of DENR protection.

As these migrating birds including teals make their stops in 117 more important bird sites in country while carrying the virus, in Bohol, some of these stop by Malinao Dam in Pilar and mingle with the native wild ducks and mallards, possibly passing on the virus, warned Bohol provincial veterinarian (Pvet) Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz.

Wild duck and wild birds hunting hobbyists remain to be a top concern for veterinarians, because according to Dr. Lapiz, getting exposed to these infected birds and their body fluids is dangerous.

Although avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred, Center for Disease Control and Prevention continues to warn.

Birds sharing food, water and roosting spots could pass the disease to each other and to people who come in contact with them, according to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

In fact, in the outbreak, DA-BAI has asked people to get involved in monitoring the spread of the virus.

Communities can help by reporting illegal transport of infected products and monitoring areas where migratory birds can be stopping and mingling with native flocks.

According to DA BAI, for animal movement concerns, people can report to 09189171407 while for potential disease cases reporting, BAI suggests informing 09208543119 (Smart) or 09951329339 (Globe).

The DA has suspended the transport of fowls and products from Luzon to other parts of the country, following a transport ban issued a week ago.

The lifting of the ban however does not include products from the affected areas.

In Bohol, the PVet has implemented quarantine checkpoints to buses and boats from Luzon.

Footbaths, chemical spraying of vehicle tires and inspections of animal transport permits, veterinary certificates have been implemented, according to Bohol veterinary quarantine officer Maria Eleonor Abisado.

This as the government continues to issue warnings against eating raw poultry meat or eggs and thoroughly cooking them, to make sure the disease contamination is stopped.

Bird flu virus dies at 70 degrees and its exposure to the sun kills it, Dr. Lapiz added.

At this, she also reminded people: never get in contact with migratory, wild or resident birds, do not release of expose birds to the wilds and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after accidental exposure to birds and fowl. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

DENR’s Cora Colarines explains during the Kapihan sa PIA the country’s wetlands and the migration of birds from the north. Migratory birds stopping by Candaba in pampanga could pick up the bird flu virus and carry it to Bohol, she warned. (PIABohol)

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