Thousands of sea lions have died in Peru amid an outbreak of bird fluaccording to the National Service of Protected Areas of Peru by the State (SERNANP).
Bird flu, also known as H5N1, has spread to several species in the country. A first outbreak in birds was first reported at the end of November 2022 along the Peruvian coast.
SERNANP has now reported at least 63,000 dead birds from the virus, along with a growing number of deaths in other species.
According to the agency, at least 3,487 sea lions have been found dead due to the virus, more than 3% of Peru’s sea lion population. It also recorded five fur seal deaths linked to bird flu.
“What we remember started with pelicans last year and is now affecting these marine mammals,” said Peruvian veterinarian Javier Jara. Reuters.
Peruvian authorities are urging citizens to avoid physical contact with wildlife, dead or alive.
Bird flu has also infected record numbers of birds and some mammals across the United States.
Since the end of 2022, scientists have detected this virus in more than 100 species of wild birds such as ducks, seagulls, geese, hawks and owls in the United States, where cases have also been identified among bears, foxes, bobcats, raccoons, bears and dolphins. .
There have also been a handful of human cases. World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last month that the risk to humans remains low but added, “we cannot assume this will remain the case”.