Shot in the dark

Published: Sunday 15 January 2006

Bird Flu Sri Lanka
A bird flu pandemic might or might not happen but people in Sri Lanka are not taking chances. They are already taking potshots at migratory birds, owing to a media-fuelled frenzy. As the last land-mass between Antarctica and Asia, Sri Lankan wetlands receive flocks of wintering birds every season. However, this season, the migrants are flying in to a rude welcome and bullets, even when the country is yet to record a single bird flu case.

Ominous messages carried and broadcast by the media have spread public hysteria, leading to random acts of killing migrant birds as they land in their wintering grounds. Conservationists are fearful that the panic will subvert the activities they have been engaged in for years trying to promote and protect the wintering grounds and wetlands of these migrant birds.

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