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Annual census to be held at OBS with bird flu protocols

Noida: The Asian waterbird census (AWC) will be held at Okhla Bird sanctuary on January 17 with full health protocols as no cases or signs of bird flu had been so far detected in the sanctuary, officials said
By Kushagra Dixit
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 11:52 PM IST

Noida: The Asian waterbird census (AWC) will be held at Okhla Bird sanctuary on January 17 with full health protocols as no cases or signs of bird flu had been so far detected in the sanctuary, officials said.

The protocols require census takers to wear persona protection equipment.

Ecologist from Wetlands International -- the organisation that had been conduction AWC in the city for past three years-- said that they had not noticed any symptoms of avian influenza among migratory birds at most of the wetlands in UP and Rajasthan so far.

“Apart from Pong Dam lake in Himachal Pradesh, most of the wetlands where we had been visiting and conducting census are safe. So we have decided to go ahead with the annual census at Okhla bird sanctuary on January 17,” said TK Roy, ecologist and conservationist, AWC

He added that the bird flu had been mostly detected among some terrestrial birds, but not among the migratory birds in the wetlands they had visited so far.

“We have visited several wetlands including Sambar lake in Rajashtan, Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, two lakes in Agra, Saman bird sanctuary in Etawah, Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary as well. All of them seemed safe,” said Roy.

The Asian Waterbird Census is the annual international event held in India and Australia in January by the Wetlands International in association with the forest department.

According to the divisional forest department, Gautam Budh Nagar while they are on alert and surveillance is on, it seems safe to hold the census.

“Census will be held and forest department will provide all possible help to the volunteers. There will be however protocols for bird flu at place, which including wearing gears while going to certain areas of the sanctuary that is near lake area. Though no dead water bird or symptom of bird flu had been observed so far, we still have to be cautious,” said PK Srivastava, divisional forest officer, GB Nagar.

Last year, the AWC held at OBS on January 11, 2020 counted total 8,776 birds of 62 species against 12,212 birds of 63 species in January 2019. The major attraction of resident and migratory birds includes --Graylag Geese, Bar-headed Geese, Common Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Gadwal, Eurasian Coot, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Painted Stork and Greater Spotted Eagle.

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