TEL AVIV, Israel: An avian influenza upsurge has claimed the lives of over 5,000 cranes in Israel, resulting in the government banning visitors to a renowned wildlife refuge.
Also, as the bird flu has spread, chicken farms have begun culling flocks and authorities warn of a possible shortage of eggs.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has met with specialists to discuss further steps, as well as ensure there is no bird-to-human transmission. No cases of humans contracting the bird flu have been reported in Israel.
"This is the worst blow to wildlife in the country's history," Tamar Zandberg, the minister of environment, noted in a tweet, as personnel donning bio-protective gear set about gathering the thousands of dead cranes from a lake in the Galilee region's Hula Nature Reserve, as well as distant marshlands.
Zandberg also confirmed that there has been a culling of several thousand chickens.
Some in the government are weighing the option of lowering import restrictions and purchasing eggs from outside the country to address possible shortages.