The current state of avian influenza (HPAI), commonly known as bird flu has meant the nightmare scenario that conservationists feared has become a reality.
In 2023, surveillance – often led by BirdLife Partners, including the UK’s RSPB – and comparative analysis produced further revelations about how certain species have been hit. Northern Gannets at the world’s biggest colony, Bass Rock in Scotland, declined by a quarter.
From January 2022 to October 2023, 80 countries reported 17,000 outbreaks in wild birds and mammals. This number is considered a gross underestimate.
These stark realities show that countries have been caught off-guard and have been ill-prepared for dealing with wildlife outbreaks of HPAI. Although, government departments of agriculture deal with avian flu outbreaks in farmed animals, there is now a clear need for the environment departments to take responsibility for the disease in wildlife, including our wild birds.
Our collective efforts transcend borders, as our BirdLife Partnership allows us to collaborate seamlessly to share knowledge, resources and technology, and your support is essential to have this united front.
Thorough, real-time surveillance is critical and research on population-level impacts is also vital. More testing capability is needed, everywhere.
In essence, your support in our work at BirdLife International is key to unlocking progress in critical issues like avian influenza. When you donate, it is not just a financial contribution, it is an investment in the well-being and survival of our birds around the world.