Published Date: 2004-01-18 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH> Avian cholera, cormorants - South Africa (02)
Archive Number: 20040118.0204
AVIAN CHOLERA, CORMORANTS - SOUTH AFRICA (02)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 18 Jan 2003
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: SABC News.Com [edited]
Scientists are puzzled by an outbreak of avian cholera, which has cut a
swathe of destruction through the seabird colony on a remote Southern Cape
island. Explanations range from global warming to the activity of poachers.
Conservation agencies have pooled resources to deal with the outbreak on
Dyer Island, near Gans Bay. Dyer Island Cruises ferry volunteers and
supplies to the island. Fledgling Cape cormorants have been struck, but
there is concern that it could spread to other species.
"My prime concern is that the disease will spread to from the relatively
abundant cape cormorants to the rarer -- and indeed threatened -- cormorant
populations, and other threatened species we have," says Tony Williams, a
seabird expert. Volunteers scour the island collecting dead birds, which
died within 24 hours of contracting the disease. An incinerator has been
set up to burn the carcasses. Fortunately, however, few birds are dying.
Poaching nevertheless remains a problem. Cape Nature Conservation's Shaun
Page says: "We do have security every evening on the island. The problem is
that the poachers come onto the island, cause disturbance among the
breeding populations, and this puts extra stress on the population. This we
believe could lead to a spread of the avian cholera."
A pile of burnt bird bones on the island is what is left of 7000
cormorants. No one knows when or at which bird colony the disease will
break out again.
[The ProMED-mail posting archive number 20040106.0059 has comments
regarding the causative agent of avian cholera and more about the situation
regarding the cormorants. - Mod.TG]