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Friday, December 24, 2010

Japan : 'Tis the season to be jolly frightened of bird flu

Via Asahi :

" Ironically, the demilitarized zone that divides the Korean Peninsula is said to have grown into a haven for wild birds. This no man's land also serves as a stopover point and resting place for migratory birds. Watching the birds freely fly over national borders, the Korean people must feel all the more saddened that they remain divided.

According to "Toritachi no Tabi" (Journey of birds) written by Hiroyoshi Higuchi, an ornithologist who has been tracking migratory birds by satellite, and published by Japan Broadcast Publishing Co., birds rely on the sun and stars to get to their destinations. They risk their lives to travel. Some fall into the ocean. According to Higuchi, the purpose of their southbound journey in the fall is not to avoid the cold but to search for food.

With the arrival of winter birds, a highly pathogenic bird flu has begun to mark "Xs" across the Japanese archipelago.

So far, infections have been confirmed among ducks in Hokkaido, chickens in Shimane Prefecture and swans in Toyama and Tottori prefectures. Furthermore, in Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, the largest wintering ground for cranes in Japan, a dead "nabezuru" (hooded crane) was found infected."

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