WILDLIFE rangers in hazmat suits look for dead wild birds — as avian flu hits a colony.

Around 3,000, including guillemots were collected on the Farne Islands, off Northumberland, to halt the spread.

Farnes' general manager Simon Lee said: "The welfare of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our top priority as we navigate this unprecedented wildlife tragedy on the islands.

"The National Trust has cared for the Farne Islands for just under 100 years, and there are no records of anything so potentially damaging to our already endangered seabird colonies.

"The Farne Islands is a National Nature Reserve and home to approximately 200,000 seabirds, including guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills and shags in addition to Arctic terns and puffins.

"We closed the islands to limit disturbance to the birds and are monitoring the situation daily.

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"Our team of rangers are working hard to minimise the spread of the disease amongst the island's precious wildlife."

This strain of bird flu originated in east Asia and affected domestic flocks in the UK over the winter.

It has since spread across the country to infect wild birds.

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It spreads when birds come into direct contact with an infected bird, faeces, body fluids or indirectly via food and water.

The risk to humans is considered to be very low and people are rarely affected.

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