By Chad Williams – iol 4h ago
CAPE TOWN – Over 700 pelicans were found dead in a UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Senegal that provides refuge for millions of migratory birds, according to international media reports.
News broadcaster Al Jazeera reported on Thursday that 750 pelicans were found dead in Djoudj bird sanctuary near the border with Mauritania, a remote pocket of wetland near the border with Mauritania and a resting place for birds that cross the Sahara Desert into West Africa each year.
Senegal closes bird park after mass pelican deaths https://t.co/3eOxHQ5Gp3— Modern Ghana (@modernghanaweb) January 27, 2021
According to the Guardian, Bocar Thiam, the director of Senegal’s parks, said in an interview that authorities took samples for screening and they hope to find out what caused the deaths of the pelicans.
The sanctuary is a transit place for about 350 species of birds but only pelicans were found dead, authorities say.
Of those killed, 740 were juveniles and 10 were adults.
According to reports, the bird park has been closed to the public after the mysterious deaths of at least 750 pelicans, with initial analysis ruling out bird flu.
Modern Ghana reported that the pelican bodies and their waste have been destroyed and public access, including canoe tours through the park’s waterways, has been suspended.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Senegal reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu on a poultry farm in the Thies region, resulting in the culling of about 100,000 chickens.
Authorities have closed the park and ordered the incineration of the dead birds as a precaution, writes Al Jazeera.