SHALDON Wildlife Trust is on high alert, as a result of the presence of avian influenza, or bird flu, in the South West. Last fortnight, Paignton Zoo had to close its doors following a recent outbreak.

On August 29, Paignton Zoo found two cases in its bird population, causing them to close their doors to visitors for several weeks. The zoo reopened on Wednesday, but with equally tight biosecurity measures.

While for much of the country, the bird flu risk is diminishing, tight restrictions remain in Devon and Cornwall due to cases popping up across the region.

In addition, new guidance came after Defra announced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone across the South West at the start of the month.

This means that there is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to implement enhanced biosecurity measures to protect their flocks and mitigate the risk of further outbreaks.

Bird flu was confirmed in Ashburton and Dartington last month, while other cases in Torbay and East Devon have been reported much more recently.

Shaldon Wildlife Trust stated: ‘As like all bird holders in Cornwall and Devon we are adhering to DEFRAs avian influenza prevention zone and working closely with our veterinarian on this matter.

‘We have increased our biosecurity and introduced new prevention measures to safeguard the birds at Shaldon Wildlife Trust. Our thoughts are with Paignton Zoo staff for having to deal with the outbreak they had on their site.’