Bird flu kills more than 130 geese on Isle of Man


More than 130 geese found dead on the north coast of the Isle of Man died from avian influenza, the Manx government has confirmed.

The birds, which were predominantly Greylag Geese, were discovered at the Point of Ayre at the end of October. The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) said they had tested positive for the virus. Manx BirdLife said its nature reserve in the area had been closed to visitors as a result.

Some 130 Greylag Geese tested positive for bird flu (Nick Clayton).

The deaths came after confirmation earlier in October that two European Herring Gulls found dead on Fleshwick beach in Rushen and a Rook found dead in Bride had also tested positive for the high pathogenic H5 strain of the virus.

A DEFA spokeswoman said that despite the latest discovery, no new restriction zones would be brought in, as the cases had been found in wild birds. However, she said bird keepers were being urged to "remain vigilant by practicing good biosecurity" and reduce any contact wildfowl may have with kept birds.

The latest discovery came as the UK government ordered all poultry and captive birds in England to be kept indoors from 7 November to fight the country's largest ever bird flu outbreak.