Northern gannets died on Bonaventure Island: the tourist season starts as planned

Four carcasses were sent to the Quebec Center for Wild Animal Health to determine the cause of these deaths.

It is still too early to know if it is bird flu. The director of the Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park, Rémi Plourde, expects to receive the results of the analyzes by the end of next week.

With 110,000 gannets in one place, mortality occurs. But 30 dead copies, it was worth going for expertise to check whats going on. »

A quote from Rémi Plourde, Director of Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park

A virus like bird flu can be easily spread in a colony like the one on Bonaventure Island, where birds live in close contact with each other (archives).

Photo: Radio Canada / Isabelle Larose

In the Magdalen Islands, nearly a thousand northern gannets have been found dead on the beaches in the past two weeks. Five individuals were analyzed in the laboratory and the results showed that the five birds were infected with bird flu.

Soles found in New Brunswick

Analyzes are also underway on gannets collected on the beaches of Tracadie, New Brunswick, and which come from the colony of Bonaventure Island, according to Lewnanny Richardson, director of the Species at Risk program at Nature New Brunswick.

Bonaventure Island boobies come to eat in our regions, and due to certain events such as bird flu, they will become exhausted at sea, die and wash up on the beaches.he explains.

A sole dead on a beach in Tracadie

Twenty northern gannets from Bonaventure Island were found dead on the beaches of Tracadie, New Brunswick.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Sarah Déry

He estimates that about 20 dead birds, mostly gannets and a few cormorants, have been spotted on the region’s beaches in the past few days, a situation that worries him.

It happens from time to time, in early spring, that we see a few dead specimens, but not of this quantity. On Thursday I found 11 gannets over 5 kilometers, which is not normal. »

A quote from Lewnanny Richardson, Species at Risk Program Manager, Nature New Brunswick

Mr. Richardson reminds the public not to touch the birds, dead or alive.

Do not go too close if it is still alive, it is a bird with a rather aggressive beak. We do not approach them, we let them die with dignityhe advises.

Observe the breasts at a safe distance

Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé is still opening its doors as planned on Monday 30 May.

Mr. Plourde recalls that public health indicates that the risk to humans is extremely low and that visitors, even in normal times, are never in contact with gannets.

pieds entre la colonie et nous, et c’est un milieu très ventilé”,”text”:”Il y a 30, 40pieds entre la colonie et nous, et c’est un milieu très ventilé”}}”>There are 30, 40 feet between the colony and us, and it is a very ventilated environmenthe says.

Rémi Plourde, director of the Parc national de l'Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, poses in front of Rocher Percé

It is still too early to know whether bird flu has infected the sole colony on Bonaventure Island, but in any case, the director of the national park, Rémi Plourde, assures that the safety of visitors is not in danger (archives).

Photo: Radio Canada / Isabelle Larose

Still, some precautionary measures will be taken to be extra careful, especially on the Moss path, where the fence is moved to keep visitors away from birds.

As a precautionary measure, we demarcate the extreme protection zone so that it puts a distance between the clientele and the colony of northern gannets. There’s just one place a little closer where we need to move the fence a little bit back.explains Mr Plourde.

Every day, my natural scientists are on the park guard, and during boat trips we will make observations to document how the situation develops.adds the director of the park.

With information from Isabelle Larose and Sarah Déry

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