1000 silver pelicans die from bird flu

According to the latest drone data from the local conservation association, the death toll of silver pelicans in the area of ​​Lake Mikri Prespes has reached 1,000.

In Lake Heimaditida, located 60 km south near Aminteos, 60 dead silver pelicans were recorded, and in neighboring Zazari – 12. Also, according to the network of volunteers and employees of Kastoria, dead birds were found in the area 53, off the shores of Lake Kerkini – 33.

Mirsini Malaku, head of the nature protection company Εταιρίας Προστασίας Πρεσπών, expresses concern over the sharp increase in the deaths of migratory birds. Pelicans nesting in Prespes travel daily in search of food to nearby areas with lakes, such as Kerkini, at a distance of 180 km, or closer to places such as Zazari and Heimaditida, at a distance of 60 km. In this case, cross-infection of birds occurs.

“In addition, cleaning up dead birds is an urgent measure to prevent the spread of infection to other waterfowl and predators,” Ms. Malaku notes, adding that “this is a difficult task, since it is necessary to collect the carcasses of pelicans stuck in the reeds in the middle of the lake.”

An additional reason that the clean-up operation should be carried out quickly is that “the spread of the virus in the lake, which is preparing to receive a second wave of migratory birds arriving in the area in the spring, should be kept to a minimum,” Ms Malaku said. “.

In her opinion, it looks like the bird flu virus was brought to Prespes by migratory ducks and geese, which arrive in mid-November from the northern lakes, spend the winter here and migrate again in March.

Sotiris Vosdu, deputy governor of Florina, said that “in the very near future, the company that took responsibility for cleaning up dead birds will conduct a raid in the Lake Mikri Prespes area.”

The official expressed hope that “in the middle of next week, the company will start carrying out planned work.” He stated that the authorized company has “all the certificates that are necessary for the implementation of a particular project.”

In Kastoria, volunteer groups, in cooperation with the veterinary service of the regional branch, have already started collecting dead birds. According to the person in charge, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, the event is carried out in accordance with all biosafety protocols. “Birds are collected in special (anti-infection) bags, stored in rooms with low temperatures, and then transported to a certified incinerator operating in the area,” he told the publication. parallaximag.gr.

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