At least 12 swans dead amid fears of bird flu outbreak at park

The number of dead birds is expected to rise as the largest ever outbreak of the highly infectious disease sweeps across the UK.

At least a dozen swans have died at a Glasgow Park as a result of suspected avian flu.

Glasgow City Council confirmed it had received advice from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) after the birds were found at Hogganfield Park.

The local authority said the number was likely to rise amid fears over the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus – which is experiencing its largest-ever UK outbreak.

However, there are no plans for a cull of the birds at this stage, the council said.

A spokesman added: “In-line with advice from DEFRA, we are assuming the birds have died from avian flu and it is likely the number of dead birds will rise.

At least a dozen swans have been found dead, but that number is expected to rise.

“DEFRA has been notified of the incident and they have indicated they will visit the park to undertake further tests

“We are monitoring our parks regularly but members of the public are advised to avoid any contact with a dead bird or any bird that appears to be visibly sick.”

RSPB Scotland said anyone who encounters a dead bird should avoid making contact and continue to report them to the DEFRA helpline.

The charity’s head of species and habitats, Paul Walton, added: “We are reassured that the NatureScot-led HPAI Task Force is guiding and co-ordinating responses to further outbreaks and is considering how we tackle the national challenge of the building resilience in wild-bird populations through species recovery programmes.

“We must all see this as a wakeup call for action to restore and protect Scotland’s wild species as part of our national response to the nature and climate emergency.”

An “avian flu protection zone” has been declared across Britain during the unfolding battle against the strain.

All poultry and captive birds in England are now under strict household curfews in an effort to stop the disease jumping from wild to domestic animals.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The latest outbreak of avian flu is the largest seen in the UK to date. This has affected the wild bird population as well as commercial and backyard flocks.

“While maintaining high levels of biosecurity among domestic poultry flocks helps protect against disease, addressing the disease among wild birds poses significant challenges.

“The Scottish Government is taking the situation very seriously and is working hard with partner organisations to progress measures to respond to the reports of increased mortality among wild bird populations.”

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