The City has noted that recently they have been receiving calls from residents about geese in distress, though they are asking the public to 'allow nature to take its course'.
"It is common for geese to be in distress or perish during this time of year (early November) due to stress from long migrations. In addition to this, some geese are also infected by Avian Influenza," The City's website stated. "Our most responsible approach (while not ideal) is to allow nature to take its course. Deceased geese are being safely retrieved by our Parks staff and we are monitoring the situation closely."
The City is advising residents that if they do observe geese or birds in distress, residents should not attempt to rescue them.
"This poses a high risk of Avian Influenza to spread to other animals (specifically if infected birds are brought to a rescue facility)."
According to Health Canada, Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) occurs, '...naturally in wild birds and circulate in migratory populations without causing widespread disease.'
"5N1, a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) that originally evolved in domestic birds in 1996, is now circulating widely in Canada and many parts of the world. An AIV is designated highly pathogenic when it has characteristics that cause mass disease and mortality in infected poultry."
Health Canada said that while there have been no human cases of avian flu that have resulted from exposure to exposure to wild birds in North America, one should still be cautious.
"Anyone in close contact with infected birds and their environments may be at increased risk of infection."
Bird feeders are unlikely to spread the avian flu, however, if one does have a bird feeder in their backyard or otherwise, residents are asked to not feed waterfowl, gulls, or other water birds and also to not feed wild birds by hand.
The City noted that they are also working closely with Alberta Agriculture to address any concerns of Avian Influenza potentially entering poultry farms in the province.
If residents observe non-bird animals in distress they are asked to contact the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation at 403-946-2361.
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