Avian flu puts Delta bird sanctuary in financial crunch

WATCH ABOVE: A plea from a non profit society that cares for hundreds of birds. Because of the avian flu outbreak, one of their main sources of income has dried up. Jennifer Palma reports.

The staff at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (O.W.L.) is taking every step to protect their birds of prey. They want to make sure none get infected with avian flu.

The society closed its doors as a safety precaution to protect their birds.

“We are getting birds that are wild birds that are coming from the affected areas,” says O.W.L.’s Mindy Dick. “Just to be safe we’ve quarantined these birds that are coming in out of the affected areas.”

Right now, the non-profit has seven birds in quarantine, where they reside for 21 days to ensure they don’t have avian flu. But the self-imposed quarantine has put O.W.L. in a financial crunch.

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“We are getting to a crisis situation,” says Dick. “We’re running out of funds.”

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The society raises funds through public tours of their Delta facility and school visits that they’ve had to cancel since many of those are in the affected areas in the Fraser Valley.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not comment on the non-profit, but did say that “no new sites have been identified since December 19, 2014, and depopulation of the infected premises is complete.

“Strict surveillance will continue in the area for the next 90 days. If no additional cases of avian influenza are found within this period, the zone can be considered free of avian influenza.”

READ MORE: Industry says avian flu outbreak contained

Nearly 250,000 birds at 11 different Fraser Valley farms were put down as a result of the outbreak. Calvin Breukelman with the BC Poultry Association says farmers are recovering – but it will be a tough road ahead for some.

“They’ll be without income in some cases for a full year depending on what type of poultry they have.”

Those interested in giving to O.W.L. can go to their donation page.

-with files from Jennifer Palma


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