News in Digest: Beware of birds and boars

Nothing life-threatening, but the chances of being butted in Jutland are increasing

Bird flu has turned up at numerous locations across Denmark – and already a number of countries have stopped importing the country’s poultry goods as a precaution.

The food authority Fødevarestyrelsen has ordered Danish egg and poultry farmers to keep their fowl indoors as a precautionary step, but it is feared it might be too late to contain the outbreak.
Bird flu has been detected at a duck farm in north Zealand, among tufted ducks on Møn and in Christiania, and also in Als in south Jutland, on southern Funen and near Roskilde.

A similar outbreak of the contagious disease H5N8 in 2006 cost Denmark some 200 million kroner in lost export income. The disease is not considered dangerous to humans.

Raccoons not leaving
The birds aren’t the only unwelcome guests. Two invasive species, the raccoon dog and the wild boar, are threatening to set up home in Denmark for good.
The population of the raccoon dog, which can inflict tremendous damage to indigenous birds and small mammals, has increased five-fold over the past five years, despite 284 confirmed deaths this year – up from 47 in 2009.

In 2010 a plan was concocted that involved tagging the dogs with GPS equipment to allow hunters to track and shoot them. The vast majority are found in Jutland, with a few sightings on Funen.

The wild boar, meanwhile, is gathering in large numbers in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany. Nearly 14,000 were killed there between 2014 and 2015 – an increase of 50 percent.

A combination of mild winters and an abundance of food has led to the rise. Danish pig farmers are concerned the boars could spread African swine fever, which is found in wild boars in eastern European countries such as Poland.

Big udder watching
In other animal-related news, beach-watchers in the north-Jutland town of Standby near Frederikshavn were startled by the site of thousands of starfish last week. Their arrival was blamed on the weather and wind direction.

Video surveillance at dairies has revealed that cows produce less milk when they spend too much time fighting one another and eating. By dividing younger and older cows, farmers have increased the performance of their cows by four litres of milk per cow per day.

A 2.7-metre, 240-kilo beaked whale, which can dive down to depths of 3 km, caused a splash in early November when it was found beached near Ferring on the west coast of Jutland. The deceased young male is extremely rare, and the Zoological Museum in Copenhagen dissected it to find out more.

Polar bear Vilma died suddenly at the age of 14 at Aalborg Zoo earlier this month – only two weeks after she was transferred there from Rostock in Germany.

And finally, migratory birds of every type are finding their way to the tiny island of Mandø in Vadehavet (Wadden Sea – a shallow sea off the coast of Jutland), where a wildlife sanctuary is being established by Den Danske Naturfond.