Coed y Dinas in Welshpool, Powys closed after suspected bird flu

The Montgomershire Wildlife Trust has confirmed it has closed Coed-y-Dinas nature reserve on the outskirts of Welshpool after a suspected outbreak of bird flu killed several black gulls.

In a statement on social media, a spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are deeply saddened by reports of the deaths of many birds at Llyn Coed-y-Dinas Nature Reserve in Welshpool.

Read more: Birder shock at deaths in ‘vibrant’ gull colony of Welshpool amid suspected bird flu

“While not confirmed, this is likely to be a result of avian or avian influenza having a devastating effect on wild bird populations across the country. Please ensure we are aware of the situation and are handling it according to official guidance.

“We have made the very difficult decision to close the reserve to the public at this time. We are concerned about the potential risks to our visitors, due to the number of birds affected. Please bear with us at this difficult time.”

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The Trust and the Government Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have advised the public not to touch sick or dead wild birds and to report them to Defra via their website or helpline.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We recognize that the current outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza poses a significant threat to wild bird populations in the UK and have advised and guided land managers on an approach to disease detection in wild birds which is based on the latest scientific evidence and international best practice.

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“We will continue to keep wild bird outbreaks under review and will work closely with partners on any action required. Along with our year-round Wild Bird Watch programme, we have invested in a £1.5 million research project to understand how this disease behaves in wild and kept birds, and this It will help guide our approach going forward.”

The Welsh government warned that “the virus has not disappeared and continues to circulate in wild birds and that strict biosecurity and hygiene measures provide the best protection for poultry and birds”.

If you find a dead bird, you can report it to DEFRA using the government website or via the Defra helpline 03459 33 55 77.

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