GOVERNMENT scientists are carrying out tests to establish the cause of death of around 40 birds in Poole Park.

Borough of Poole says it is normal for wildfowl to die at the park, but over the past three weeks the numbers of dead birds has been higher than normal.

Initially, samples were sent to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) for specialist analysis, amid concerns the birds could be carrying an infectious disease.

However, Borough of Poole says tests have since ruled out avian flu as a potential cause and insists the bird deaths pose no risk to public health.

Kate Langdown, street scene services manager at Borough of Poole, confirmed: “We have notified Defra of the situation and they are carrying out tests to confirm a cause of death.

“We are currently awaiting the results but initial tests have ruled out bird flu as a potential cause of death. We will continue to monitor the wildfowl in the park and we are confident that there is no risk to the public.”

The deaths have generally occurred around the freshwater lake – and geese, ducks and gulls have all been affected. Wild birds can carry several infectious diseases that can be potentially harmful to humans.

According to the latest Defra guidance, if more than five wild birds are found dead the department must be notified – to enable tests to be carried out if deemed necessary.

Mrs Langdown said: “Sadly, some of the wildfowl in Poole Park will die each year due to natural causes. However, in recent weeks the number of dead wildfowl found in the park has been higher than normal.”