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Avian Influenza- Advice for animal health professionals

The Advice for veterinarians and other animal health professionals lists the clinical signs to look out for and provides information on important PPE and biosecurity measures, and information about other relevant guidelines.

Please refer members of the public to the advice for people who encounter sick or dead wild birds.

WHA has advised:

From 2021-2022, high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 clade 2.3.4.4b has caused ongoing outbreaks of disease in wild birds throughout much of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Mortalities have been observed in a wide range of species, seen as individual bird deaths and have included mass mortalities. While previous research has determined the risk of HPAI strains entering Australia via migratory birds to be low, the current global situation means an increased level of risk to Australia.

With the return of migratory birds from the northern hemisphere to Australia from September to November, there is likely a higher chance for an introduction of HPAI viruses into Australia compared to previous years.

Avian influenza is a 
nationally notifiable disease which means if you suspect an animal is showing signs of the disease, you must report it. You can do this by contacting your local veterinarian or call the national Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

WHA-related resources and advice:


Further Information:

SWARM PROBLEMS?

HAVE YOU FOUND A SWARM?

Use “Find a Beekeeper” to help

https://www.beekeepers.asn.au/swarms

The whole of New South Wales is currently subject to a Biosecurity Order restricting the transportation or handling of honey bees. As a result, areas such as the Hunter Valley swarms cannot be collected but must be reported.

If you are aware of a swarm or other colony of honey bees it is vital that you report it as follows:

  • call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 (9 am to 5 pm, 7 days)
  • or use the online form at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hives

If there is any danger to your own safety or public safety please call 000 immediately.

If you are unsure or need any help from the ABA please contact us at biosecurity@beekeepers.asn.au

Understanding Bird Flu dynamics in Australia

A new study of bird flu dynamics in Australia’s wild birds has revealed the virus strains present and how they spread.

Last winter the northern hemisphere saw some of the worst outbreaks of avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’, ever experienced.

Canada and the United States reported more than 400 outbreaks of severe bird flu affecting more than 40 million poultry and wild birds. These outbreaks came after the same virus strain swept through Asia, Africa and Europe in late 2021. It caused widespread outbreaks and millions of deaths in poultry and wild birds.

What might this mean for Australia? Will we see similar outbreaks? Whilst the risk of the same strain arriving in Australia is lower than in the continents affected so far, we need to remain vigilant to the possibility of incursions because the virus continues to evolve and change.

Until recently, studies of waterbirds in the northern hemisphere provided most of our understanding of the ecology and evolution of avian influenza viruses in Australia’s wild birds. But Australia’s wild waterbirds, like ducks and geese, face different environmental conditions and don’t show the same migratory behaviour as their northern hemisphere cousins.

Read the full article at https://ecos.csiro.au/understanding-bird-flu-dynamics-in-australia/

NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report 2020–21

NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation Annual Report 2020–21 Cover

In 2020–21 there were 8,150 volunteers who supported or were otherwise directly involved in wildlife rehabilitation.

This annual report is the collective story of the NSW wildlife rehabilitation sector. It is the fourth report to be compiled by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of Planning and Environment. It communicates the significant efforts of volunteers in the sector and reports on trends in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured wildlife.

To view the report go to https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/nsw-wildlife-rehabilitation-annual-report-2020-21

Updated resources for Flying-Fox carers

Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Flying-foxes

The Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Flying-foxes is intended for those authorised to rescue, rehabilitate and release flying-foxes.

The code has been developed to ensure the welfare needs of these flying-foxes are met and the conservation benefits stemming from their rehabilitation and release are optimised. It also aims to ensure that risks to the health and safety of volunteers rescuing and caring for these animals are reduced and easily managed.

First published in June 2021; second edition published September 2021

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/code-of-practice-for-injured-sick-and-orphaned-flying-foxes

Initial treatment and care guidelines for rescued flying foxes

This document advises on the initial care and management of flying-foxes following rescue, from capture to physical examination, initial stabilisation and treatment before presentation to a veterinarian.

It advises on how to manage the more common rescue encounters in flying-foxes including trauma, heat stroke, burns, orphaning and starvation.

The purpose of this document is to standardise the initial treatment of flying-foxes requiring rescue or rehabilitation, in line with the Code of Practice for Injured, Sick and Orphaned Flying-foxes.

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/initial-treatment-and-care-guidelines-for-rescued-flying-foxes

Flying-fox Rehabilitation Training Standards for the Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Sector

These standards must be used for delivering introductory training for flying-fox rehabilitation.

Any person with an authority to rescue and rehabilitate flying-foxes in New South Wales must be trained to these standards and be assessed as competent.

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/flying-fox-rehabilitation-training-standards

Questionnaire for Australian Wildlife Rehabilitators

Investigators: Professor David Phalen and Lauren Bassett (Project Assistant) from the University of Sydney – School of Veterinary Science has received funding from NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) to conduct a survey of Australian wildlife rehabilitators. The study is designed to identify health problems that are impacting wildlife survivability and releasability that would benefit from additional investigation into their cause and treatment. Findings from this survey will inform future research into health problems identified in wildlife.

The survey is seeking to identify illnesses, diseases or injuries that either cause native Australian wildlife to come into care or develop in native wildlife while in care that require further investigation.

To participate, please complete the anonymous online survey via this link: https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=DECY9PKMKA

The time it will take to complete the survey is dependent on how many wildlife species you rehabilitate, and of these, how many injuries, illnesses and/or diseases you wish to discuss. The study is confidential, and participants cannot be identified from their responses.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in our survey. Your responses will greatly assist in identifying health problems affecting our native wildlife that merit further investigation.

NSW Community Wildlife Survey

The NSW DPIE needs your help to conserve koalas and other local wildlife, to understand the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires and to assess trends in feral animals such as deer and fox.

In 2019, they released the NSW Community Wildlife Survey. The survey aimed to improve our understanding of the distribution of koalas and other mammals, including both native and introduced species, in New South Wales, to indicate how their populations have changed over time and to investigate what might be causing that change.

They ran the survey from May to December.

They have now reopened the survey to help them understand how our wildlife and introduced mammals are faring, and how they have been impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

More than ever, we need your sightings of koalas and other mammals from before and after the fires, as well as sightings from areas not affected by the fire.

The information you provide will build on findings from earlier community surveys, allowing us to compare mammal populations in 2006 with those in 2019-20. This data will help us decide the priority sites for action as part of the NSW Government’s Koala Strategy. It will also provide us with vital information about where mammals were affected by fire and where populations remain within and near the fire grounds.

The survey questions include

  • which of the 10 target animals in the image gallery occur in your local area
  • when you last saw the animals in your local area and if you think their numbers are increasing, decreasing or staying the same
  • the health of the koalas in your local area and whether they have young (joeys)
  • what you think are the main threats to koalas in your local area
  • where in New South Wales you have seen any of the 10 target animals over the last 2 years.

The survey should take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete.

For more information, links to the tools that you need to use and to take the survey go to:

https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/programs-legislation-and-framework/nsw-koala-strategy/koala-and-other-wildlife-survey