Visitors to Richmond Park urged not to feed or touch wildlife
Mandarin ducks in Richmond Park. Picture: London Looks
The Royal Parks are warning the public not to feed or touch birds amid a bird flu outbreak.
It is carrying out “enhanced monitoring” in rivers and lakes to check for signs of sickness in birds and remove dead birds as soon as possible.
The warning comes as wild and captive birds in multiple locations throughout the UK have tested positive for the disease.
But so far, there has not been any outbreaks of avian influenza in wild birds that visit the parks’ waters.
The Royal Parks are responsible for managing all major London parks such as Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Richmond Park.
Bird flu circulates naturally among wild birds and can spread to poultry and other captive birds when migration to the UK from mainland Europe happens in winter.
The UK Health Security Agency has said that avian influenza is mainly a disease of birds and the risk to the general public’s health is very low.
The Food Standards Agency say bird flu poses a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. They say properly cooked poultry and eggs are safe to eat.
The Royal Parks said, “We are unable to prevent wild birds from getting the virus, but we are carrying out enhanced monitoring of our waterbodies to check for signs of illness and to ensure that any carcasses are removed immediately.
“To date, we have not been alerted to any nearby outbreaks of the disease, and we’ve not observed avian flu in our ornamental collections or in the wild birds that frequent the waterbodies.
“The public can assist our efforts by not feeding or touching wildlife, and reporting any sick or dead birds seen in the Royal Parks to 0300 061 2000 or via email email@example.com.”
James Mayer - Local Democracy Reporter
November 12, 2021