Avian Flu Detected in Apex Predators

The country’s worst outbreak of avian flu in years is showing up in mammals, including a black bears and mountain lion in Colorado.

Avian Flu Detected in Apex Predators

While known cases are low, avian flu is showing up in some apex predators such as black bears and mountain lions. Photo: www.iStock.com/KeithBinns

Avian flu moving from infected waterfowl to mammals was confirmed in a dead mountain lion and strangely behaving black bear, which was euthanized by Colorado wildlife officials. 

The bear and lion were found in Huerfano and Gunnison counties. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials told The Colorado Sun the state’s avian and mammal cases are low. They still are watching waterfowl, shorebirds, domestic chicken flocks and other wildlife for signs of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza that began appearing in late 2021. 

The Sun said more than 6 million chickens have been killed on commercial egg farms during the outbreak. Wild birds including migrating ducks and geese have been found dead, along with raptors including a bald eagle. Wildlife officials believe mammals are feeding on the waterfowl and becoming infected. 

Wildlife officials said the bear showed symptoms including circling, confusion, no fear of humans and other strange behaviors. A wildlife agent witnessed the bear’s actions before making the decision to euthanize it. The dead mountain lion was found outside of Gunnison in mid-January.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.