Test results await after bird death

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By Nkululeko Nene

Durban - The eThekwini Municipality is awaiting the results of tests on swabs taken from 26 birds at the Umgeni River Bird Park after the death of a Buffon’s Macaw forced the park to close last month.

City officials quarantined the park late last month after the bird was found dead in its cage. A post-mortem revealed that the bird died from the bacterial infection Salmonella enteritidis.

Environmental protocols kicked in, with the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs ordering the KZN state vet to quarantine the park and test the other birds for a possible outbreak of the disease.

Christo Swart, the deputy head of parks at the municipality, said the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs classified caged birds in the same class as poultry.

“Therefore the state vet for KZN was instructed to quarantine the park until further tests were taken,” he said.

In addition, a consulting veterinarian advised the staff to isolate and perform tests on the female macaw that shared the enclosure with the dead bird.

Swart said the female was given a clean bill of health and the birds’ enclosure was emptied and disinfected.

On October 29, the state vet took 26 swabs for testing. The results have not yet been released by the state vet.

Swart said he hoped to have the park would reopen soon.

“All is well at the Umgeni River Bird Park. We hope to have the results released in due course and have the park opened to the public,” he said.

Swart said this bacterium was something similar to food poisoning and he expected full feedback from the state vet later on Friday. - Daily News

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