Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

RSPB Grassholm is home to 36,000 pairs of northern gannet, making it the third largest colony in the world for this sea bird. It is one of only two gannet colonies in Wales and of international importance.

As you may have seen in the press this year, gannets, along with a host of other seabird species have been hit by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The highly pathogenic H5N1 strain originated in the intensive poultry industry in Asia and has since spread into wild bird populations around the world.

Up until now the disease had not reached Grassholm and we were living in hope that would remain so this season. Sadly, this is no longer the case and, following a spate of suspicious deaths during one of our recent surveillance visits the disease has been confirmed following testing by DEFRA.

At present the outbreak is small but has the potential to escalate. It is early days yet on Grassholm and we are keeping the site under close surveillance and will update the public as and when there is more to tell. The number of birds affected is low at the moment and we are monitoring this.

The island is not open for public landings due to the disturbance levels this would cause so there is no change in this regard.

In the meantime you may come across dead or dying gannets (or other seabirds) washed in on beaches around Pembrokeshire. The advice is not to touch these birds, keep dogs away from them and report to DEFRA on 03459 33 55 77.