The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds has raised concerns about the “near-global spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)” and has put forward several key recommendations on how to combat the unparalleled mortality in wild birds.
Co-convened by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Task Force has released a statement on the increasingly worrying state of affairs concerning HPAI.
The spread of avian influenza from Asia and Europe is currently having a devastating effect on wild bird species around the world. On top of this, HPAI is now causing mortality in mammals, including foxes, seals and dolphins.
According to the statement, the situation should now be seen as a significant concern for global conservation, and not simply a socio-economic threat associated with poultry production.
Nine key recommendations have been published by the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds on how to combat the threat of avian influenza as part of the way forward.
As part of their recommendations, the services that hunting and hunters provide to society were highlighted by the Task Force within the context of Surveillance and Data Gathering, which underlined how “collaboration with local hunters for testing of their birds can provide useful samples for surveillance“.
In addition, the statement has a strong focus on the need for a One Health approach in dealing with the situation at hand, given the “significant costs to wildlife health and biodiversity conservation as well as livelihoods (including of those dependent on wildlife for subsistence), economies, livestock health, and a risk to humans due to zoonotic potential.”
This approach is also aligned with Target 11 of the Global Biodiversity Framework, given the emphasis on a holistic approach to supporting animal, plant and ecosystem health, including zoonoses.
For more information on the statement by The Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, the press release on the matter can be found here.