Bird flu threat keeps Tower of London's famous ravens indoors

The ravens at the Tower of London have been moved indoors to protect them from the threat of bird flu, the man in charge of the royal birds said Monday.

"Although we don't like having to bring the Tower ravens inside, we believe it is the safest thing to do for their own protection, given the speed that the virus is moving across Europe," Derrick Coyle, the Yeoman warder who is also the Tower's raven master, said.

According to legend, if the ravens leave the 11th century fortress on the River Thames, its White Tower will crumble and the Kingdom of England will fall. King Charles II decreed in the 17th century that there must always be six ravens at the Tower.

A spokeswoman for the Tower said the six birds were taken inside as a "contingency measure" and that they'll be living in custom-built aviaries. The ravens are named Branwen, Hugine, Munin, Gwyllum, Thor and Baldrick.

Speaking on customary condition of anonymity, she said that Coyle had been monitoring the virus since it first appeared in Asia and had been planning to take the ravens inside as soon as it appeared in western Europe, reports AP.

O.Ch.

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