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Bruges shelters canal swans from bird flu

The medieval Belgian city of Bruges has rounded up dozens of the swans that glide through its picturesque canals to shelter them from the spread of bird flu.

France, the Netherlands and Denmark have already begun chicken culls after cases of the virus, and Belgium has detected an outbreak among wild birds.

Protective measures have been taken in poultry farms, but the situation is more complicated in Bruges, where the swans are usually free to roam.

“All the swans have to be taken, and it is not so easy to take them.” mayor Dirk De fauw told AFP.

“We have to take the swans out of the free spaces of the city and keep them safe in a place where they can hide from birds coming from everywhere and birds who are sick.”

The city prepared for the operation by halting feeding the swans for five days.

When grain was finally produced, municipal workers pounced and bagged the birds for transport to a protected reserve.