Each year, about half a million cranes land in Israel during their annual migration to warmer latitudes. Many of them stop at Huladalen in the northern parts of the country, which has made the nature reserve associated with it a popular tourist destination.
However, tourists have recently missed the spread of bird flu among migratory birds. Pictures from the reserve show how the dead cranes are floating in the water after falling victim to disease. So far, an estimated 5,000 birds have died, according to Israeli authorities.
Concerns about the spread of the disease prompted the authorities to take action. The reserve is closed to visitors, while gamekeepers work to collect dead and sick animals.
We don’t yet know the extent of the prevalence when it comes to other wildlife or water sources. Israel’s environment minister says this is a contagious disease that can also infect people.
Hundreds of thousands of chickens are slaughtered
According to Reuters, the country’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with security advisors and other experts to discuss the risk of influenza spreading to humans. The Prime Minister announced that so far, no such cases have been found.
As a precaution, the Israeli Agriculture Ministry has also decided that about half a million chickens will be slaughtered in the vicinity, according to the Associated Press. The massacre, in turn, is expected to lead to a shortage of eggs, prompting the authorities to look for opportunities to increase imports.