U.S. okays emergency use of bird-flu vaccine to avoid wasting California condors

A Californian condor, within the Bitter Creek Wildlife Refuge, California.
| Picture Credit score: Vivek Menon

U.S. officers have introduced the emergency use of a hen flu vaccine to guard the California condor, a critically endangered and sumptuous animal that has already bounced again as soon as from the brink of extinction.

After discovering a California condor lifeless from the extremely pathogenic avian influenza in March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sought the assistance of the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Well being Inspection Service, which granted emergency approval to be used of the vaccine. Even since, greater than a dozen condors have died from the hen flu, referred to as H5N1.

The division authorised the emergency vaccination “because these birds are critically endangered, closely monitored, and their population is very small which allows close monitoring of the vaccine,” the discharge stated.

The deaths, all close to the Arizona-Utah border, are alarming contemplating the world inhabitants of California condors was estimated at solely 561 on the finish of 2022. This contains 347 free-flying birds in three states and Mexico and 214 in captivity, in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Earlier than condors are vaccinated, the wildlife service will conduct a pilot security examine beginning this month on North American vultures, marking the primary time the vaccine has been examined on wild birds within the U.S., stated Joanna Gilkeson, a wildlife service spokesperson.

Chook flu has killed a whole lot of tens of millions of birds worldwide, with the virus largely unfold by wild birds that transmit it to poultry. The toll within the U.S. contains greater than 430 bald eagles and a few 58 million turkeys and industrial chickens; the latter have been euthanised to forestall the unfold of the illness.

Whereas scientists work on poultry vaccines, industrial flocks for now are protected by different measures resembling segregation, USDA stated.

The California condor is likely one of the world’s largest flying birds with a wingspan of as much as 2.7 metres and weighing greater than 9 kg, in response to the California Division of Fish and Wildlife.

California’s inhabitants of iconic condors was practically worn out – there have been just a few dozen birds within the Nineteen Seventies – by searching through the California Gold Rush, in addition to by poisoning from the poisonous pesticide DDT, and by ingesting lead ammunition

Within the Nineteen Eighties, all 22 California condors left within the wild have been put into captive breeding programmes to avoid wasting the species. Zoo-bred birds have been first launched into the wild in 1992 and within the years since have been reintroduced into wild habitats.

The programme helped improve the inhabitants to 161 birds by 1999 from 27 in 1987, the state division stated.

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