Friday, February 24, 2006

Bird Flu Hits London Tourist Hotspots

The six black ravens that have become infamous at the Tower of London are now locked up, and fed by a man in a bio-suit, as fears of a bird flu outbreak sweep England.

The ravens are part of Tower legend. When they leave the Tower, London will crumble, as the ancient tale goes.

They are popular with tourists, who gather to watch them being handfed raw meat, but the ravens are surly, and tourists are often chased and attacked by the unruly birds.

A few miles away, thousands of pigeons congregate around Trafalgar Square every day, drawing millions of tourists a year, who pay to feed the birds and get their photos taken with pigeons sitting on their heads and shoulders.

London Mayor, Ken Livingsone, has called on tourists and residents to stop feeding the tens of thousands of pigeons in the city, particularly around Trafalgar Square, believing this might help reduce the chances of bird flu spreading.

Livingstone's main concern was with areas where thousands of pigeons gathered, and the threat posed by bird faeces, which is believed to be one of the most potent sources of new infections from the virus.

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