Hundreds of dead pelicans in Senegal test positive for H5N1 bird flu

A man sits next to his pelican a in a neighbourhood, of Dakar, Senegal Jan 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

DAKAR (REUTERS) - Some 750 pelicans found dead in a Unesco World Heritage site in northern Senegal last week have tested positive for H5N1 bird flu, the head of the parks authority told Reuters on Friday (Jan 29).

Rangers found the pelicans on Jan 23 in the Djoudj bird sanctuary, 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.

The birds were incinerated and the park is closed, said Bocar Thiam, Senegal's parks director.

The sanctuary is a transit place for about 350 species of birds but only pelicans were found dead.

This month, Senegal reported an outbreak of H5N1 on a poultry farm in the Thies region about 190km south, resulting in the culling of about 100,000 chickens.

It is not clear if the two outbreaks are linked.

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