Wader trapping and the bird flu threat

Subject: Wader trapping and the bird flu threat
From: "Marilyn Davis" <>
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 12:46:27 +0000
Hi all

Heaven forbid that such a thing could happen but in the event that migratory
birds carry the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus to Australia, what
procedures and protocols are followed by bird banders to avoid spreading
this disease after handling trapped birds during wader catching exercises.

Resulting from concerns about the highly contagious nature of this bird flu
virus, serious questions must be asked about wader catching; what are the
risks caused by handling migratory birds?  Is disease more likely to spread
among these birds by caging and handling them.  And of no lesser importance,
what are the risks to the birdwatching community when say after returning
from a leg flagging jolly, a bander attends a club meeting.  In pursuit of
their hobby, are banders putting us all at risk?

Previously we have discussed many of the impacts caused by amateur bird
banding. Common problems such as crippling injuries caused by leg flags and
high level collateral killing caused by cannon traps are apparent but this
new problem, the bird flu virus is more insidious and potentially dangerous.

This is a classic case for applying the precautionary principle?  It does
not bear thinking about what great harm would be caused to conservation
management if one of our own was the carrier of the virus, responsible for
spreading the disease to other birds and into the public domain.  There is
an urgent need for independent (not by bird banders) risk assessment related
to wader trapping and handling and if any considered risk of virus exposure
exists, an absolute ban should be placed on amateur handling of migratory

Happy birding

Marily Davis

Via Katherine NT

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