The Delhi zoo has been temporarily shut after death of nine birds, officials said on Wednesday.
Zoo director Amitabh Agnihotri said the facility has been shut to carry out surveillance as some of these have tested positive for H5 avian influenza virus. Officials said only masked staff members are being allowed inside the complex as it has been quarantined.
“Free ranging rosy pelicans, painted storks and ducks have been found sick and dead. Nine birds have died so far. It has been decided to close the zoo temporarily for safety of visitors and to carry out surveillance of the disease,” the director said.
On October 14, two bird deaths were reported. On 15th, six more died. These eight samples were initially sent to Hyderabad. The tests were finally conducted at the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory at Bhopal. One bird died on Wednesday, and its samples are also being sent for tests.
Coordinated action is being taken to contain the situation, officials said. Meanwhile, Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai, who visited the zoo to take stock of the situation, said the zoo will remain closed on Thursday, too, and vaccinations were being held for the employees.
“Teams have been sent to eight bird hot spots, including Ghazipur poultry farm. A meeting has been scheduled at 2pm to look into the matter. A 10-member close monitoring squad has also been deployed at the zoo to keep tabs on the situation,” Rai said.
Zoo officials, however, said the zoo won’t reopen before next week.