There have been calls for the closure of a public park in Belfast following the discovery of dead and dying swans there linked to an outbreak of bird flu.

Politicians said they had taken hundreds of calls since last week from members of the public upset at the sight of distressed and sick birds.

A number of dead swans have been recovered.

The presence of avian influenza, or bird flu, has been confirmed amongst wildfowl in the Waterwork's off the city's Antrim Road.

It is a popular overwintering spot for a wide range of wildfowl, including up to 100 swans as well as large populations of gulls and geese.

Sean Patrick Cummins who is a volunteer with an animal sanctuary said he was worried that if something wasn't done, the entire swan population in the park could be wiped out.

"We could take the ones who are healthy out, otherwise we're going to have no swans by the end of Christmas in this park and that's going to take years to build back up again."

The bird flu is carried by migratory birds and poses a risk every winter

There have been several confirmed cases of bird flu in commercial poultry flocks on both sides of the border. It has led to several large scale culls of turkeys, chickens and ducks.

The virus is carried by migratory birds and poses a risk every winter. It can be easily spread to both commercial and wild bird populations.

Sinn Féin councillor Conor Maskey said he had been trying to get guidance from officials about the best way of dealing with the issue at the Waterworks.

He said the closure of the park and a potential cull of sick birds were options which should be considered.

"At the minute the guidance is don't do anything until the swans die. I don't think that's acceptable."