A HIGHLY pathogenic bird flu is believed to have killed a 'number of seabirds' found dead inside a Fife forest. 

Visitors to Scotland's woodlands are being urged to avoid touching dead or apparently dying birds after the animals were discovered at Tentsmuir. 

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) chiefs believe it won't be the only destination to be hit by an outbreak of the flu, which is making its way across the UK. 

FLS Wildlife Ecologist, Kenny Kortland, said: “We have already found a number of dead seabirds at Tentsmuir forest that are suspected avian flu cases and we expect that it will not be the only visitor destination that we look after where this will occur.

“It is very important that people do not touch dead or dying birds, and that they keep their dogs away from them as well.

“Avian flu is extremely contagious amongst birds and while transmission to humans is very rare, it is important the we all do what we can to prevent assisting the spread of the disease.”

Anyone finding dead birds that they think might have succumbed to avian flu should immediately notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). 

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has swept through various colonies, killing numerous different species, RSPB Scotland says.

The epicentre of the outbreak, which originated in poultry, is in Shetland and Scotland's northern isles, but dead birds have also been found in Orkney, Fair Isle, the Western Isles, St Kilda, Troup Head and Bass Rock.