Officials are planning to use drones to monitor birds in wetlands in the Terai -region of the state.(Sourced)
Officials are planning to use drones to monitor birds in wetlands in the Terai -region of the state.(Sourced)

Bird flu scare: Uttarakhand sounds alert as five birds die in 2 days

While authorities maintain that no case of bird flu has yet been detected in the state, they are taking all precautions as several migratory birds are due to arrive
Hindustan Times, Dehradun/Haldwani | By Suparna Roy and Ankur Sharma
PUBLISHED ON JAN 06, 2021 04:58 PM IST

As bird mortality increases in Uttarakhand, state government authorities on Wednesday started conducting inspections at poultry farms and conservation areas where migratory birds arrive.

Officials are planning to use drones to monitor birds in wetlands in the Terai region of the state. The Terai region in the state witnesses the arrival of many migratory birds during the winter, making it a sensitive area.

Abhilasha Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO) of the Terai central forest division, said that an alert has been issued and patrolling increased in wetland areas.

Dr. SB Pandey, chief veterinary officer of Dehradun district, where five birds have been found dead in the past two days, said, “From the postmortem examination report of the two crows and one bird that were found dead on Tuesday, it has been revealed that they died likely due to worm infection. They did not show any signs of bird flu, however, their viscera samples have been preserved and in case large number of mortalities is reported then those samples will be sent for testing at the high-security animal laboratory in Bhopal.”

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He further said that an inspection of Asan Conservation Reserve, the state’s sole wetland of international importance, was conducted by both forest and animal husbandry department on Wednesday.

“I inspected the entire premises of the Asan Conservation Reserve, which is home to maximum migratory birds in the state on Wednesday and we did not find anything suspicious. We have asked all officials to stay alert and ensure maximum cleanliness to keep the birds safe.”

Sandeep Kumar, DFO, Terai east forest division, said “The wetlands will be monitored by drones. We have directed patrolling staff to identify dead birds using drones in the wetlands.”

Officials from Nainital forest division are also considering limiting giving eggs or poultry items as food to animals in the region.

TR Bijulal, DFO Nainital and in-charge of high-altitude zoo in the district said, “We have decided to prohibit giving eggs as part of meals to wildlife. Only mutton and fish are being given as food. Apart from this, all guidelines issued by the state government to prevent bird flu are being followed completely.”

The state animal husbandry department has also issued guidelines for monitoring and controlling the spread of bird flu in the state as around five birds (till the filing of this copy) have been found dead in the past two days.

The guidelines state, “Maintain self-distance and ensure to keep domestic birds at a distance from migratory birds. Ensure the migratory birds are not poached or hunted. Looping of trees should be done at poultry farms where other domestic birds sit. Unnecessary movement of people from outside must be stopped at poultry farms. Shoes, slippers should be sanitised with phenyl before entering poultry farms and vehicles must not be allowed to enter poultry farms.”

KK Joshi, director of animal husbandry department in the state said, “No case of bird flu has been detected in the state so far, but all officials are on alert. Our district chief veterinary officers have started conducting inspections of sensitive areas.”

According to the guidelines, the Uttarakhand government has also stopped purchase of any poultry items from states where bird flu cases have been reported. Officials have been asked to check health status of birds in all poultry farms on a daily basis and report any suspicious or unusual activity/response. Any bird which shows symptoms like difficulty in walking, loose motions; must be separated from other healthy birds.

All districts or citizens can provide updates on the health status of poultry or birds to the state control room on the number 18001208862 or 0135-2532809

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