Wildlife officials collecting carcasses of birds that died under mysterious circumstances in the Pong wetland in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh over the past week.(HT Photo)
Wildlife officials collecting carcasses of birds that died under mysterious circumstances in the Pong wetland in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh over the past week.(HT Photo)

Avian flu causing migratory birds’ death at HP’s Pong Dam, toll rises to 2,400

Lab reports expected on Tuesday, while post-mortem reports rule out poisoning
By Naresh K Thakur | Hindustan Times, Dharamshala, Dharamshala
PUBLISHED ON JAN 04, 2021 09:54 PM IST

With the number of migratory birds dying at the Pong Dam wetland in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district on the rise for a week, the ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Disease has confirmed H5N1 virus as the cause of the fatalities.

More than, 2,400 birds of different species have been found dead at Pong Lake over the past week. Over 600 of them died on Monday. The reports of samples sent to laboratories are expected on Tuesday.

Preliminary results of five samples of Bar Headed Goose received for avian influenza testing at High-Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal have tested positive for the H5N1 virus, says a communication by the NIHSAD.

The wildlife officials at Dharamshala, also confirmed the report on condition of anonymity.

Wildlife authorities had sent 17 samples to Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, and five samples to the High-Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, to ascertain the cause of death. Earlier, the initial sample reports received from Veterinary Lab, Palampur and Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar also pointed out flu- like symptoms.

Kangra deputy commissioner Rakesh Kumar Prajapati, who chaired a meeting with wildlife authorities to take stock of the situation said that Pong Lake area was already shut for activities like grazing, fishing, and tourism.

“As a precautionary measure, sale of poultry products and fish has been also banned in Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora subdivisions,” said Prajapati.

The DC said that the samples were also being collected from poultry farms in the area and people have been told stop grazing and farming activities in peripheral areas.

BAR-HEADED GEESE WORST HIT

Most of the fatalities are being seen among bar-headed geese, the world’s highest-flying birds that migrate from far-off Siberia and Mongolia. Birds from other species such as the common teal, shoveler, river tern and black-headed gull were also found dead.

The Kangra district administration has banned all kind of activities, including fishing, grazing and boating, in 1-km area of the lake. The next 9-km area has been declared a surveillance zone.

The divisional forest officer (wildlife), headquarters, Devinder Singh Dadhwal, who has experience working in Pong Wetland, said that never have such a large number of bird deaths been reported from the area. “If it turns out to be avian flu, it would be for the first time in Pong Wetland,” he said adding that the wildlife sanctuaries and zoos in the region have also been put on alert.

The Pong Dam Wetland — an international Ramsar site — hosts more than 1 lakh migratory birds of 100 species that fly thousands of kilometres from Mongolia, Siberia, trans-Himalayan region and Central Asia in winter every year.

ANNUAL BIRD CENSUS MAY BE SUSPENDED

The wildlife authorities may have to suspend the annual avian count conducted in Pong wetland if the situation is not under control.

The three-day mega exercise is conducted in January and February.

The Pong Dam Lake, constructed on the Beas river in 1960, was declared a bird sanctuary in 1983 and given the status of the wetland of national importance in 1994. In 2002, it got the status of a Ramsar site.

Last winter, 1.15 lakh birds of 114 species were spotted on the wetland. The bar-headed geese are most plentiful in Pong.

Other prominent avian visitors include the northern pintail, Eurasian coot, common teal, common pochard, northern shoveler, the great cormorant, Eurasian pigeon and the ruddy shelduck.

The fortnightly census conducted on December 15, 2020, recorded around 57,000 migratory birds. Since 1988, as many as 425 bird species have been sighted in Pong wetland.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
In one of the cases, the accused was a relative of the victim and had come to their house along with his family. (HT photo)
In one of the cases, the accused was a relative of the victim and had come to their house along with his family. (HT photo)

2 minors among 3 raped in Amritsar, Tarn Taran

By HT Correspondent, Amritsar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 01:37 AM IST
Three incidents of rape, including two of minors, were reported in Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts on Sunday in which the accused are yet to be arrested
Close
The victims, in their early 20s, were on a bike. (HT Photo)
The victims, in their early 20s, were on a bike. (HT Photo)

Speeding SUV kills two Chandigarh University students

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 12:22 AM IST
The two were going to Kharar when a Toyota Fortuner rammed into their bike near the Phase-7 traffic junction in Mohali
Close
Man held for posing as Punjab guv’s secretary, duping traders
Man held for posing as Punjab guv’s secretary, duping traders

Man held for posing as Punjab guv’s secretary, duping traders

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 12:03 AM IST
A property dealer based in Mohali’s Mundi Kharar has been arrested for extorting imported liquor worth around 2 lakh from traders in Chandigarh after posing as the private secretary or assistant of the Punjab governor
Close
Chandigarh, India, June 04 : new Garbage collection vehicles at Sarangpur village Chandigarh, on Tuesday, June 04, 2019 Photo by Karun Sharma/Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, India, June 04 : new Garbage collection vehicles at Sarangpur village Chandigarh, on Tuesday, June 04, 2019 Photo by Karun Sharma/Hindustan Times

Chandigarh MC to extend garbage collection to 12 more sectors

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 12:01 AM IST
Shelving its plan to start city-wide door-to-door garbage collection from March 1, the municipal corporation will, for now, extend it to just 12 southern sectors
Close
Vaccination will take place at more than 50 government and private hospitals in the region. (HT File Photo)
Vaccination will take place at more than 50 government and private hospitals in the region. (HT File Photo)

Health depts geared up for next vax phase in Chandigarh tricity

By HT Correspondents, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 12:00 AM IST
Only on-site registrations to take place on first day; Co-WIN portal for online registrations to go live too
Close
Vaccine coverage among Chandigarh cops increases to 31.5%
Vaccine coverage among Chandigarh cops increases to 31.5%

Vaccine coverage among Chandigarh cops increases to 31.5%

By Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 12:44 AM IST
After a slow start, more cops are coming forward to get a jab in the city
Close
Chandigarh captain Manan Vohra and Arslan Z Khan’s opening stand of 111 runs goes in vain. (HT File Photo)
Chandigarh captain Manan Vohra and Arslan Z Khan’s opening stand of 111 runs goes in vain. (HT File Photo)

Vijay Hazare trophy: Chandigarh lose to Saurashtra by 66 runs

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 12:37 AM IST
Led by a superb 130-ball knock of 174 runs from Prerak Mankad, Saurashtra beat Chandigarh by 66 runs in the Elite Group E match of the Vijay Hazare Trophy tie at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday
Close
Those with vehicles in CH01BK and BL series are the first to be covered. (HT File Photo)
Those with vehicles in CH01BK and BL series are the first to be covered. (HT File Photo)

Chandigarh RLA extends deadline to get HSRPs to Sept 30

By Rajanbir Singh, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 12:34 AM IST
The decision has been taken to avoid rush at the RLA office and other centres amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the city
Close
Kargil War veteran among two held for drug peddling in Mohali
Kargil War veteran among two held for drug peddling in Mohali

Kargil War veteran among two held for drug peddling in Mohali

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 12:31 AM IST
The crime investigating agency of Mohali police on Saturday arrested two drug smugglers, including a Kargil War veteran, from Zirakpur and recovered 500 grams of opium and 1,920 habit-forming tablets from their possession
Close
Chandigarh admn gears up for next phase of Covid vaccination
Chandigarh admn gears up for next phase of Covid vaccination

Chandigarh admn gears up for next phase of Covid vaccination

By HT Correspondents, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON FEB 28, 2021 12:29 AM IST
Limited on-site registrations planned for first day; drive to pick up pace on Tuesday after online registrations on Monday
Close
An FIR was registered against former cricketer Yuvraj Singh under Sections 153A and 153B of the IPC and under the SC/ST Act. (HT FILE)
An FIR was registered against former cricketer Yuvraj Singh under Sections 153A and 153B of the IPC and under the SC/ST Act. (HT FILE)

Celebs have greater responsibility of choosing their words in public: HC on Yuvraj’s plea

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:57 PM IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court has said that celebrities have greater responsibility in using a term in public or social media platforms as the same can be misinterpreted
Close
Our life has a strong mooring in society. (Shutterstock)
Our life has a strong mooring in society. (Shutterstock)

Navigating loneliness in life’s twilight

By Wg Cdr DPS Bajwa
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:28 PM IST
It is man’s nature to be gregarious
Close
Councillor Mamta Ashu and MC joint commissioner Swati Tiwana with members of various NGOs during the expo in Ludhiana on Saturday. (Harsimar Pal Singh/HT)
Councillor Mamta Ashu and MC joint commissioner Swati Tiwana with members of various NGOs during the expo in Ludhiana on Saturday. (Harsimar Pal Singh/HT)

In a first, 60 NGOs come together at expo in Ludhiana

By HT Correspondent, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:24 PM IST
Gathered at Nehru Rose Garden, NGOs apprised visitors of the various causes they are pursuing like helping the disabled, underprivileged children and the elderly
Close
Poetry and paintings are born of the same seed of creativity: A painting by Chandigarh artist Madan Lal. (Photo: Madan Lal)
Poetry and paintings are born of the same seed of creativity: A painting by Chandigarh artist Madan Lal. (Photo: Madan Lal)

Roundabout: Poetics of protest - then and now

By Nirupama Dutt
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:20 PM IST
Let no one mock the mad man, the lover or the poet for it is such passion that is woven into words to make a change for the better
Close
A masked conversation is much like an interaction on the phone, with the smile and the frown totally missing from the scene. (Representative Photo/HT)
A masked conversation is much like an interaction on the phone, with the smile and the frown totally missing from the scene. (Representative Photo/HT)

Random forays: Masked conversations can be more revealing

By Vivek Atray
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 11:11 PM IST
Some masks will stay on forever-more, it seems, even when pandemic necessitated cloth coverings have long been consigned to the waste bins en masse
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP