Bald Eagles Are Dying From Bird Flu | Smart News

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A minimum of 36 bald eagles have died since February due to the H5N1 strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The virus can be causing the death of thousands and thousands of economic chickens and turkeys.
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A highly contagious bird flu that’s sickening business chickens and turkeys can be now spreading amongst bald eagles. A minimum of 36 bald eagles have died since February, in line with data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The H5N1 strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has killed bald eagles—the US’ national bird—in Florida, Nebraska, Ohio, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina and a number of other other states, in line with the info. Eagles affected by the virus could have seizures and be unable to arise, reports Jennifer Calfas for the Wall Street Journal.

The deaths are particularly concerning because bald eagles are also now grappling with lead poisoning that stems from ingesting ammunition while eating animals shot by hunters, reported Douglas Important for National Geographic in February. A study of 1,210 eagles in 38 states published within the journal Science earlier this yr found that greater than half of the birds had chronic lead poisoning. Lead toxicity can impair eagles’ ability to maneuver, prevent them from digesting food and, in the event that they ingest enough of the metal, it could actually kill them, per National Geographic.

“We’re seeing significant mortality,” Victoria Hall, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center, tells the Wall Street Journal. “The higher data we are able to collect about what is going on in these populations, the higher we are able to work out how we are able to best support them.”

Bald eagles were abundant in 1782, when the Founding Fathers incorporated the raptor into the brand new nation’s official seal. Based on anecdotal reporting on the time, upwards of 100,000 bald eagles lived in America, in line with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Because the variety of waterfowl, shorebirds and other prey declined within the 1800s, so too did the bald eagle population; people also incorrectly perceived bald eagles as a threat to livestock and shot them.

Bald eagle standing

Bald eagles are grappling with lead poisoning and the H5N1 strain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). 

USFWS Pacific Southwest Region via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

To assist the population rebound, Congress passed the Bald and Gold Eagle Protection Act in 1940, which banned the killing, selling or possessing of the birds. Then, within the late Forties, the brand new pesticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) began to proliferate, poisoning bald eagles in the method. By 1963, only 417 nesting pairs remained, per the USFWS.

In light of mounting evidence in regards to the dangers of DDT, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the usage of the pesticide in 1972. Bald eagle numbers slowly began to rebound and, by 2018 and 2019, there have been greater than 70,000 breed pairs within the lower 48 states, in line with the USFWS. The U.S. Department of the Interior removed the raptor from the endangered species list in 2007.

Eagles and other wild birds aside, the virus can be sickening thousands and thousands of economic birds raised for his or her eggs and meat across the country—and driving up the value of eggs and poultry in the method. In Iowa, the country’s leading egg-producing state, producers have killed greater than 13 million chickens and turkeys affected by the virus. All told, farmers across the country have slaughtered nearly 27 million business chickens and turkeys to assist stop the spread of the virus, which has been reported in 27 states. That is the deadliest bird flu outbreak since 2014-15, when 50 million chickens and turkeys died either from the virus or in efforts to forestall its spread.

Three chickens walking

Producers across the country have slaughtered nearly 27 million business chickens and turkeys to assist stop the spread of the virus, which has been reported in 27 states.

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Though animal health experts can’t predict the long-term effects of the virus, many are concerned in regards to the potential impact to the availability chain, food costs and wild bird populations, that are already declining.

Though the virus is harming birds, it’s unlikely to spread amongst humans, in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency notes, nonetheless, that humans can turn into infected in the event that they spend a whole lot of time around infected birds without wearing proper respiratory or eye protection gear and enough of the virus gets into their nose, mouth, eyes or lungs. Human cases of bird flu are rare but may cause eye infections, upper respiratory symptoms, pneumonia and even death. The virus is just not easily spread from individual to individual, in line with the CDC.

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