Agriculture ministry awaits investigation results of dead birds that fell from the sky

The picture of a dead bird in Cakaudrove, Vanua Levu, that went viral on social media Facebook on Monday, April 06, 2020. Picture: FACEBOOK

Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture is still awaiting results of investigations into the death of birds at Naweni in Cakaudrove on Vanua Levu.

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy said they had yet to receive any results.

In an earlier interview, Regional Programme Coordinator BirdLife International Pacific Partnership Secretariat Mark O’Brien said after watching the videos, his impression was that the birds were dying from poison, “maybe natural pesticide that people use that were misapplied or used in wrong doses”.

Mr O’Brien said those were the most likely cases adding the birds could have also contracted the poison from insects or invertebrates that fed on plants treated with the wrong portion of weedicides.

“When you look at the distribution of birds in Fiji, Mynah birds are found in agricultural farmlands and they are maybe the only species that eat insects and invertebrates from the grass and I guess that this is how they may have contracted the toxin.

“Maybe since these insects or invertebrates are dead in numbers birds find it easy to eat them a flocking to feed which is why there are a lot of them are infected.

“Let’s not rule out the probability that that there are other species of birds also dead in other areas of the forest so we need to await the results of investigations by personnel.

“I rule out COVID-19 virus because to my understanding, it is not active in birds and if it is passed in birds, then only migratory could have brought it through and mynah birds have been here for a 100 years so anything they got, they got it from here.”

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