As part of emergency actions to stop an epidemic of bird flu, the Royal Parks Rangers have loaded six enormous pelicans inside his vehicle’s trunk.

There are 32 confirmed cases of Avian Flu in Britain. This prompted the Animal and Plant Health Agency of the UK to give strict instructions to bird owners, to help prevent the disease from spreading further.

Usually a popular feature in St James’ Park, six pelicans currently call it their home – Isla, Tiffany, Gargi, Sun, Moon and Star – and they have all been moved to an enclosure while the bird flu outbreak is active. 

Majority of cases are in England. A large proportion of them have occurred in North Yorkshire. However, other hotspots were found in the Midlands as well as the north west.

Three cases of the disease were recorded in Wales: in Wrexham (Gaerwen on Anglesey) and Crickhowell, Powys. 

Last week’s new housing laws made it a requirement that all UK birdkeepers keep their birds indoors.

For the disease to be eradicated, the patients must adhere strictly to biosecurity guidelines.

Pictured: A Bird Keeper from the Royal Parks removes a Pelican at dawn in St James Park, London, and takes it to an enclosure to safety to protect it from the bird flu outbreak in the UK

Pictured: In order to prevent the UK’s bird flu epidemic, a Royal Parks Birdkeeper removes an injured Pelican in St James Park at dawn.

During the national outbreak of avian influenza, Royal Parks have been advised by the Animal and Plant Health Agency to move the pelicans to the enclosure on Duck Island as a precaution

Royal Parks were advised by Animal and Plant Health Agency that they should move the birds to Duck Island’s enclosure during the national avian flu epidemic.

Since 1664, pelicans are a common sight in St. James’ Park. 

More than 40 pelicans were first introduced to St. James’ Park as a gift by the Russian Ambassador in 1664.

In response to a bird flu epidemic, the park’s residents, Isla Tiffany, Gargi Sun, Moon, and Star, were moved into an enclosure.

However, the birds may be seen when they are feeding and can often be found roaming around near the lake.

Royal Parks says that the pelicans, who are social and outgoing creatures, will sit next to people on benches in parks.

According to the charity, one pelican was mischievous and used to fly to London Zoo in The Regent’s Park to steal fish to eat.

Royal London, the park’s official pelican partnership in 2015 helped to ensure that the birds were well fed and kept healthy.

Avian flu, more commonly known as bird flu, is not an airborne virus but spreads bird-to-bird through direct contact or through contaminated body fluids and faeces according to Defra.

The virus It can also spread through contaminated food and water, dirty clothing, footwear and vehicles. 

Winter months can see an increase in cases if the disease is spread by birds who migrate from Europe.

Because of the controls, the Royal Parks charity that manages London’s parks has taken its pelicans out of St James’ Park.

A statement from the charity said: ‘During the current national outbreak of avian influenza, we have been advised by the Animal and Plant Health Agency to move the pelicans of St James’s Park to their enclosure on Duck Island as a precaution.

“We would like to reassure everyone that the six pelicans remain healthy and that we are hopeful that the birds will soon return to preening by the lake.

‘During the avian flu outbreak we performed enhanced monitoring across all parks in order to monitor for symptoms and make sure that carcasses are immediately removed.

‘To date, we have not been alerted to any nearby outbreaks of the disease, and we’ve not observed avian influenza in the birds that frequent the water bodies.’

The Royal Parks asked park visitors not to touch or feed wildlife, and they should report dead or sick birds as quickly as possible to them.

The virus can be found in two forms, one of which is more severe. The most serious form of the virus, highly pathogenic avian flu (HPAI), is more common and can often cause death in birds.

First introduced to St James' Park in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador, more than 40 pelicans have since made the park home. There are currently six pelicans living in the park

Since 1664, when the Russian Ambassador gave them to St. James’ Park as a gift, 40 pelicans call the park their home. The park is home to six pelicans at the moment

A map from the Animal and Plant Health Agency showing the active cases of bird flu across the UK and their surrounding restriction zones brought in to prevent the spread of the disease

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has created a map showing active bird flu cases in the UK and the surrounding areas. This was done to stop the spread of this disease.

Symptoms of HPAI avian flu include swollen head, closed and excessively watery eyes, head and body tremouring, drooping of the wings and/or dragging of legs and twisting of the head and neck. 

According to public health advice the risk of avian flu to humans is very low and food safety risks are low.

The public is advised not to touch, pick up, or handle any sick or dead birds, such as swans and geese or ducks. Instead, they should call the Defra helpline.

After a bird rescue volunteer from Stratford-upon-Avon had warned last month about an outbreak, the measures have been taken.

Every year thousands of tourists flock to Warwickshire, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. They are amazed at the number of swans who live along the River Avon.  

But in recent weeks, several of the swans – as well as ducks and geese – have been struck down with avian flu leaving wildlife experts fearing Stratford-upon-Avon’s swan population could be wiped out.

Cyril Bennis who manages Stratford-Upon-Avon Swan Rescue Group said he had over a dozen dead birds at the sanctuary when he was asked to do so after the recent outbreak that occurred in Worcestershire.

Cyril Bennis from Stratford-upon-Avon Swan Rescue

Cyril Bennis from Stratford-upon-Avon Swan Rescue

Cyril Bennis, Stratford-upon-Avon Swan Rescue Group (pictured), stated that the community is concerned by the spread of the disease which led to several deaths.

Defra stated that the housing reforms will continue to be reviewed regularly.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer said: “We took swift action to reduce the spread of the disease. However, we continue to observe an increasing number of cases of bird flu on farms across the country.

It doesn’t matter if you have a handful of birds or thousands, you need to take immediate action to prevent this deadly disease from spreading.

“It’s now legal to confine your bird to an indoor area to prevent them from spreading the disease to wild birds.”

“It is important that you ensure strong biosecurity. This includes regularly inspecting sheds and cleaning out shoes to minimize the spread of the virus. Don’t walk the virus into your hens.’