Chicago Lake has, in the last few days, witnessed the deaths of hundreds of birds, as reported by wildlife officials. They have confirmed that this is the very first major “avian flu outbreak” in the Great Lakes premises this year and more fatalities could be encountered in the upcoming period.
Barrington area, which houses Baker’s Lake (located at Chicago’s far northwest), has been known for bird watching. It has heron rookeries in its kitty. There were over 200 animals found herein of late. This data comes from Forest Preserves of Cook County.
As per Chris Anchor (wildlife biologist for Forest Preserve District of Cook County), this Avian influenza is the same flu that’s resulting in maximum fatalities in the poultry vertical all through North America. Starting with Great Lakes, the virus is reported to have impacted birds all across Midwest since the last 60 days.
Zillions of chicken and turkeys in the commercial farms have been killed so far to avoid avian influenza. In late March, virus got confirmed in the wild birds in 3 southeastern Michigan counties, as per state Department of Natural Resources.
Along these lines, zoos in the Chicago area did pull loads of birds from the outdoor exhibits to prevent them from getting bird flu’s highly transmissible strain. Illinois also reported two much smaller outbreaks this year, thereby affecting the backyard flocks in Carol and MacLean counties.
The other birds in the danger zone include cormorants, pelicans, and ergets. Shutters were down for the Lincoln Park Zoo last week.
Though humans are safe herein, they are at loss with regards to showing the aerial world to their wards. If the species become extinct, what would the next generation see through? They will just have to be content with the information that their elders convey or Google about it, but could that match the satisfaction obtained through actual viewing? Of Course Not!
Experts say that the outbreak of avian flu is bound to take a serious course in the upcoming period. As of now, only double-crested cormorants are being handled. However, it’s high time attention shifts towards geese, ducks, water fowl, and various other wetland birds. The massive deaths can certainly not be taken lightly.
Federal Government’s Decision
The federal government has asked to depopulate the farm as a quick solution. Wildlife biologists have asked people to report the death of a bird or dying bird to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Chris Anchor also mentions that something as deadly as this virus is being seen for the first time in the last 41 years. The latest count of the birds destroyed as of the year 2022 is 23 Mn. This is only second to 50 Mn birds being destroyed in the year 2015.
Firstly, Illinois in Will County witnessed this outbreak (in March), when 3 Canada geese were reported to be detected. The Emiquon Preserve was also closed for public in March after a snow goose died of bird flu. However, the same preserve did open after 10 days.
Resorting to Preventive measures is the only course of Action now!