Increase of dead seagulls along Hastings to Camber coastline sparks bird flu fears

A Rye nature reserve has warned that an increase in dead and sick gulls along Hastings’ coastline could be the result of bird flu.

A Rye nature reserve has warned that an increase in dead and sick gulls along Hastings’ coastline could be the result of bird flu.
A Rye nature reserve has warned that an increase in dead and sick gulls along Hastings’ coastline could be the result of bird flu.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve issued the warning after noticing an increase in dead and sick gulls along the coast from Hastings to Camber over the last two weeks.

It is mostly affecting Herring and Black-headed Gulls, according to the nature reserve spokesperson.

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They said: "This may be Bird Flu and, on Monday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) collected samples to determine the cause – we will let you know when we find out.

"Do not touch dead or sick birds and keep dogs away from them.”

Others have also raised concerns. A Hastings resident spoke of her concern that seagulls may be being shot or poisoned after finding eight dead birds in a week.

Five dead gulls were also taken for testing by Defra then.

The results from the tests are not yet available. They will be posted online on the Defra website when they have been completed.

A spokesperson for Defra said: “If you find dead wild waterfowl or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline, 03459 33 55 77.

“Wild birds are susceptible to a range of diseases and injuries and not all dead birds will have been infected with avian influenza.

“Where dead birds are not required for surveillance purposes it is the landowner’s responsibility to safely dispose of the carcases.”