Following the suspected outbreak of bird flu in Delhi, the Sultanpur National Park authorities along with an NGO have started taking precautionary measures in Gurgaon.
The national capital’s zoo has been shut after 10 migratory birds died, triggering fears of what could be the first bird flu outbreak in Delhi.
The migratory birds season has started at Sultanpur National Park and authorities said they are taking all precautionary measures against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) virus that is mainly seen in birds.
Experts of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), an NGO engaged in conservation and biodiversity research, is helping authorities at the park.
In January 2015, 47 migratory birds died in the park for unknown reasons and the park was closed for 10 days.
On Thursday, the Haryana Wildlife department conducted a survey of the park and declined any symptoms of bird flu. The department will monitor migratory birds flying to Sultanpur National Park and Bird Sanctuary, which is 15 kilometres from Gurgaon.
A larger number of birds visit the sanctuary from various parts of the world, covering over 2,500 miles, during winter every year.
“After we were informed that suspected bird flu was reported in Delhi Zoo, we conducted a survey and will take all precautionary measures. Currently, we have specialists with telescopic lenses binoculars monitoring the activities of birds closely. We hope last year’s casualty will not be repeated this season,” Shayam Sunder Kaushik, district forest officer (wildlife), said.
After the survey, officials have collected blood and excreta samples of birds. “We have not come across anything suspicious. All birds in the park appear to be healthy. None of them was observed as staying aloof, which is one of the symptoms of bird flu,” Kaushik said.
The official, however, said it is difficult to monitor the activities of all birds as the sanctuary is spread across 350 acres.
“There are more than 15,000 birds at the park now and the figure will soon increase as the migratory season has kicked in,” Kaushik said.
Park authorities said they are also spreading awareness about a possible outbreak of bird flu in nearby farm areas.
“We have appealed to the people to not spray pesticide in their farms as it is a threat to birds. We have asked them to report cases of any sick or dead bird
in agriculture farms,” an official said.