LAFAYETTE TOWNSHIP, NJ (Sussex County) – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is aware of more than 100 black vulture deaths that have been occurring since early August off the Sussex Branch Trail in Lafayette Township.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed the cause as avian influenza (bird flu), officials said.
This is a phenomenon that has been observed in many states along the East Coast, officials said.
Black vultures are seemingly very susceptible to Avian Influenza, and they tend to scavenge the carcasses of dead vultures, which can prolong the duration of a local outbreak such as the one being seen in Sussex County, officials said.
“The birds have been left to decompose on site due to rough terrain causing accessibility issues and a lack of personnel in the State certified to handle infected birds, officials said.
The risk of avian influenza being transmitted to people is extremely low, officials said.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Fish and Wildlife are monitoring the situation.
For questions regarding poultry, contact the New Jersey Department of Agriculture at 609-671-6400.