Bedford swans and goose found dead following suspected bird flu outbreak

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Three swans and a Canada goose have been found dead in the River Great Ouse in Bedford, following a suspected outbreak of bird flu.

One of the swans and the goose were discovered on Saturday 28 November in the river near the Boatslide Weir, on the southside of Bedford Embankment.

Joanne Gullon, of St Bede’s Ford Swannery, which monitors and cares for Bedford’s swan population said: “These were reported to DEFRA as a suspected Bird Flu outbreak, and to the environmental department of Bedford Borough Council for removal of the bodies.

“Something which did not occur until 12 noon of Monday 30 November, 48 hours later.”

A Borough Council spokesperson said: “Bedford Borough Council spoke to DEFRA regarding the incident regarding the goose and swan.

“DEFRA are responsible for dealing with any outbreaks. Residents should report any concerns direct to DEFRA immediately.

“Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the DEFRA Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.”

As well as the swan and a Canada goose, Joanne said: “It is was a heavy heart that I now must report the deaths of two further swans.

“A cygnet and my dear friend CPea (4CPL). I know that CPea has been ill and manifesting signs of bird flu for the last couple of days.

“Please, when feeding the birds, do not feed from the hand. Place food in the water not on the bank. If finding a dead wild bird, please report its location to DEFRA.”

Further information about Avian Influenza can be found here.

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