In June, I did a report in the Gulf of Morbihan on an emblematic bird of this corner of paradise: the common tern (read here). And now during the summer, from the Rhuys peninsula to the Glénan archipelago, the different species of terns were decimated by a strain of avian flu. The Living Brittany association speaks of “years of destroyed conservation efforts”.
I have witnessed the treasures of attention deployed by enthusiasts to allow these birds to reproduce despite the pressure of human activities. I imagine their disappointment and their sadness at the end of this deadly summer.
“Birds, so what? Shouldn’t we save our tears for other causes?” some will think. The problem is that this epizootic is getting dangerously close to us humans. “Bird flu viruses normally spread between birds. But the increasing number of cases of H5N1 avian flu in mammals – biologically closer to humans than birds – raises concerns that the virus is adapting to infect easier for humans”, warned last July three international organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO).
The International Scientific Working Group on Avian Influenza has clearly identified the place of origin of this highly pathogenic form of the disease: the industrial poultry farming system. And not wild birds, as we sometimes hear. Words that only carry to the sky the consequences of our mad earthly consumption.