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Bald Eagles, Wild Horses Suffer Mass Die-Offs

Experts link deadly horse illness to exposure to Colorado wildfire | PLUS: Asian bird virus decimates US bald eagle population

By JOSH FUNK Associated Press | May 5, 2022, 4:12 PM

AP, OMAHA, Neb. — Bird flu is killing an alarming number of bald eagles and other wild birds, with many sick birds arriving at rehabilitation centers unsteady on their talons and unable to fly.

“It’s quite a sight to see an eagle with a six-foot wingspan having uncontrollable seizures because of highly pathogenic avian influenza,” said Victoria Hall, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. “At that point, they’re so far into the disease there’s no treatment options left.”

The latest outbreak of the highly contagious virus has led to the culling of about 37 million chickens and turkeys in U.S. farms since February, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed 956 cases of bird flu in wild birds, including at least 54 bald eagles.

(CC BY 2.0) But the actual number is likely significantly higher because not every wild bird that dies is tested and the federal tally doesn’t include cases recorded by wildlife rehabilitation centers.

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The latest reported toll is nearly 10 times higher than the 99 confirmed cases in wild birds during the last bird flu outbreak in 2015. This time, the virus has been detected in birds in 34 states, indicating it is far more widespread than seven years ago … READ MORE. 

Experts link deadly horse illness to exposure to Colorado wildfire

(FOX Weather) CAÑON CITY, Colo. – Experts believe they have identified a virus running rampant through a horse facility in central Colorado, killing dozens of animals and forcing thousands into quarantine.

On Thursday, Colorado’s Bureau of Land Management said lab tests identified the illness as equine influenza, which is likely behind the horses’ respiratory issues at its facility in Cañon City, Colorado.

The agency said at least 95 horses have died since Saturday, and over 2,500 have been quarantined.

The BLM reports many of the impacted animals were collected during a round up horses after a massive wildfire in the western part of the state in 2021.

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The state says it regularly moves wild horses from areas that could be detrimental to the animals’ health to government-run facilities, where they receive proper nutrients and care.

“This tragic outcome was influenced by a population of horses that may have been particularly vulnerable given their time in the West Douglas area and their exposure to last year’s wildfire that prompted their emergency gather,” said BLM Colorado Acting Associate State Director Ben Gruber.

In recent months, the lack of precipitation and reduced forage forced the agency to concentrate horse removal efforts on areas impacted by the ongoing drought, to insure natural resources remained sufficient to support animals.

Nearly the entire West is dealing with drought conditions that range from abnormally dry to exceptional.

The state’s practice of rounding up horses and sending them to facilities has been controversial for years because of the alleged poor treatment of the animals … READ MORE. 

 

 

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