In response to the recent H5N8 outbreaks and speculation about the role of wild birds, the UN Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds (of which Wetlands International is a member) released a statement to inform stakeholders about the potential interaction between wild birds and H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus and appropriate ways of taking action. The statement highlights the need to protect wild birds and wetland areas as part of disease control measures.
Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds statement on: H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in poultry and wild birds (November 2014)download
Flyway maps show direct migration from East Asia to West Europe would be highly unusual
To inform stakeholders about the most recent H5N8 developments, in the weeks following the outbreak Wetlands International, in collaboration with its waterbird Specialist Groups, has mobilised information about the migration and populations of relevant wild bird species and visualised that in so-called Flyway Maps. These demonstrate the north-south nature of normal migratory movements within semi-distinct flyway regions and helps appreciate the likelihood (or the lack thereof) of a direct movement from East Asia to West Europe within one migration season.
Our work on Avian Influenza and wild birds
Since the major outbreaks of HPAI in poultry in Asia in 2004 and the move to (Western) Europe in 2005 and 2006, in which wild birds were involved and affected, Wetlands International has played a leading role in helping to understand the migratory movements of wild birds to inform decision making about appropriate management of HPAI. We are active in supporting national governments, international unions (like the EU), international organisations, conventions and other stakeholders with information about the potential role of wild birds in the manifestation of HPAI.
Wetlands International is seeking support to further develop flyway maps, both in terms of covering more species and in terms of improving the individual maps. If you would like to use these maps or support our mapping efforts, please contact:
Dr. Taej Mundkur
+31 318 660910
Read more about our work on avian disease.