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Bird Sanctuary no place for Bird Flu Victims

Kapiti Island Watching Interest
Incorporated

Dedicated to the protection of the Kapiti Island Nature Reserve for the benefit of all New Zealanders

29 December, 2005

Media Release

Kapiti Island Bird Sanctuary no place for Bird Flu Victims

“Kapiti Island is famous as a bird sanctuary, and is the last place to use as a quarantine station for humans infected with Asian bird Flu strains” says Dr Hugh Barr, president of Kapiti Island Watching Interest (KIWI). KIWI is a citizen group set up to help protect Kapiti Island. He was responding to a front page article in the Dominion Post today, proposing Kapiti Island as a quarantine island for victims of the human strain of Asian Bird Flu.

“Kapiti Island dates back over a century as a bird sanctuary, and, because it is an island protected by water, is home to some of our most endangered native bird species”, Dr Barr says. “It is astounding that Wellington’s Health authorities should be considering quarantining bird flu sufferers in the same place as our endangered kiwi, kaka, takahe, kokako, stitchbirds, saddlebacks and weka. These rare birds are likely to be susceptible to bird flu too.”

“Instead, health authorities should be considering how to quarantine our native bird sanctuaries from the risks posed by Asian bird flu,” Dr Barr said. “The same applies to Mana Island, another smaller bird island sanctuary near Wellington”.

ENDS

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