Dead bird in Sukhna Lake creates flutter amid bird flu scare in and around Chandigarh
The Chandigarh forest and wildlife department is on alert after a dead bird was found floating in Sukhna Lake on Tuesday.
Identified as a common coot, its carcass was found at the regulatory end of the lake. A dead fish and frog were also found nearby. Officials said it could not be determined when exactly the bird had died. The samples have been sent to test for bird flu.
Bird flu has been confirmed in four states across India, including Himachal Pradesh, where around 1,800 migratory birds were found dead in the Pong Dam Lake sanctuary. Other states are Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. Bird flu or avian influenza can spread to humans and can trigger a person-to-person transmission.
Closer home, over four lakh poultry birds have died in the past few days in Panchkula’s Barwala-Raipur Rani belt, and the test results are awaited.
“We have taken samples of the bird found in the lake and will send them to Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory in Jalandhar for testing on Wednesday morning. This is first such sample that is to be sent from the city amid the bird flu scare. It generally takes a day or two for the results to arrive,” said Abdul Qayum, deputy conservator of forests, Chandigarh.
Chief conservator of forests Debendra Dalai said: “Our teams have been on alert for the past few days.Till now, migratory birds have not shown any unnatural behaviour. If there is any other bird found dead, it will be sent for testing too.”
Dalai said although common coot is a migratory specie, many such birds have made Sukhna Lake their abode. “The veterinary department take samples of the faecal matter of birds every month even in routine. Samples were collected on Tuesday as well to ensure that birds are safe here,” he said.
Dr Kanwarjit Singh, joint director, animal husbandry and fisheries department, said: “During winters, birds usually die of cold temperature. In case of a bird flu outbreak, multiple casualties are seen. Here it could be a case of a weak or aging bird succumbing to the extreme weather.”