June 24, 2024

The age-old practice of ikik or bird trapping, which is also done in some areas in the Cordillera, was recommended to be banned as the threat of avian influenza or bird flu is still in the country.

Agriculturist I Karl Glenn Kigis of the Plant Pest/Animal Disease Monitoring Surveillance and Early Warning Section of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera said his office has recommend the ban on ikik to the various local government units.

“The fly-in season of migratory birds is already coming around September and there are many provinces who practice traditional bird hunting,” Kigis said. 

But the LGUs have the final say if they would heed the DA call to temporarily ban bird hunting for the safety of the public.

DA has also coordinated with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera to monitor bird mortalities in the various forests of the region.

DA-Cordillera reported there are three cases of avian influenza monitored in Tublay Central, Tublay; Catlubong, Buguias and recently in Pico, La Trinidad, all in Benguet as of May 27. 

Of the cases, there were 236 chicken and 80 duck mortalities while those culled were 293 heads of chicken and 78 ducks.

Earlier, Benguet Provincial Veterinarian Miriam Tiongan reported their investigation showed that both raisers from Tublay and Buguias said they bought broiler culls and butchered it in their respective residences, which is near their farms.

The live birds butchered must have been infected and there was no proper biosecurity observed in the infected farms.

The farms have already undergone disinfection and are now up for sentineling period, or the testing done to determine the presence or absence of the virus prior to starting to raise fowls again.

As for the latest case on May 5 in La Trinidad, the backyard farm owner observed facial swelling, thick oral discharges, lethargy, greenish droppings, and inflamed throat.

Upon testing, the chickens tested positive for avian influenza type A, subtype of H5N1. 

Kigis said avian influenza type A, subtype H5N1 can infect humans but the farm owners as well as those who conducted testing did not exhibit any symptoms of the illness.

Samples were also collected from the various provinces and even at the Baguio City market for testing, but results turned out negative.

The DA urged the public to report cases of fowl mortalities or any observations of bird flu symptoms. – Ofelia C. Empian