Avian flu outbreak in Israel kills 5,000 cranes and slaughters half a million chickens | Israel

An avian flu outbreak in northern Israel has killed at least 5,200 draft cranes and forced farmers to slaughter hundreds of thousands of chickens as authorities try to contain what they believe to be the deadliest wildlife disaster in the country’s history.

Uri Naveh, a senior scientist with the Israeli Parks and Nature Agency, said the situation is not yet under control. “Many of the birds are dead in the middle of the water, so it is difficult for them to get them out,” he said on Monday.

Environment Minister Tamar Zandberg called the crisis “the worst damage caused by game in the history of the country”. “The extent of the damage is still unclear,” she tweeted.

Yaron Michaeli, a spokesman for the park on Hula Lake, where the crane population mainly lives, said workers would remove the carcasses as soon as possible because they feared they could infect other wildlife.

Agriculture ministry spokeswoman Dafna Yurista said half a million chickens were being slaughtered in the area to prevent the disease from spreading.

About 500,000 cranes pass Israel on their way to Africa each year and a small number stay behind, Michaeli said. That year, an estimated 30,000 cranes stayed in Israel through the winter.

Michaeli said the cranes were believed to have been infected by smaller birds that had contact with farms affected by outbreaks.

Israeli officials are recovering crane carcasses as soon as possible to contain the spread of the virus. Photo: Xinhua / REX / Shutterstock

Israeli media featured photos of workers in white protective suits collecting crane carcasses after the birds became ill for the first time about 10 days ago.

Michaeli said crane deaths appeared to have stabilized in recent days. “That’s a good sign,” he said. “You could start getting over it. We really hope.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said officials from agriculture, environment and health departments are monitoring the situation. There is no immediate information about infections among humans, it said.

Naveh said the cleanup is slower than expected. “We’re trying to see if there are other solutions,” he said.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.