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Jan 13, 2023

Bird Flu Affecting Brown Pelicans in the Region

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, issued a warning last Friday about the detection of a virulent strain of bird flu in the Central American region.  Avian influenza has been detected in brown pelicans, as well as other species of birds in Mexico and Honduras.  Doctor Marisa Tellez, the executive director of Crocodile Research Coalition, told us what they have been observing in the south.


Marisa Tellez

Dr. Marisa Tellez, Exec. Dir., Crocodile Research Coalition

“Just recently, we have become aware through the Forest Department that it’s possible that given there have been positive cases of avian influenza in Mexico, as well as Honduras, that we need to be on high alert that these particular brown pelicans, and maybe other birds, may have a strain of avian influenza. At this moment, we are very use to seeing brown pelicans along the coast, more during the migratory season as we do have some brown pelicans migrating from the United States.  But in regards to looking at conservation, brown pelicans almost went extinct and that was the result of utilizing certain pesticides that were making the eggs of brown pelicans very weak and they were crushing and we almost lost brown pelicans.  So I do know, reading some other articles or other Facebook posts in regards to how avian influenza can affect brown pelicans or other bird species, there is that concern of if this starts to spread more rapidly.  Do we now have to go back to almost decades ago when we were concerned.  Can this be an issue for the brown pelican?”

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