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Patna zoo shuts after bird flu scare

Samples from 6 dead peacocks test were found positive

patna Updated: Dec 26, 2018 15:12 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
patna zoo,bird flu,peacocks die in zoo
Zoo empolyees spry peacock enclosure in Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park after 6 peacock die for Avian influenza (H5N1) virous (Bird flu) in Patna Bihar India (Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Patna zoo, also known as Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan, was closed on Tuesday “until further orders” after strains of avian influenza virus were found in six dead peacocks, forest officials said.

A large number of morning walkers and people who gathered later on the occasion of Christmas returned disappointment as notices were put on both its gate announcing the closure till further orders.

A release issued by zoo director said that in the last week, six peacocks (3 males and 3 females) died all of a sudden. “The death of peacocks was investigated and sample collections of spleen, lung, trachea, kidney, serum, were sent to Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), Kolkata, for test and peacocks were segregated and confined. The investigations at RDDL suggested symptoms of blood flu after which a test was conducted at National Institute of High Security Animal Disease, Bhopal. The tests at Bhopal found presence of Avian influenza (H5N1) and the cause of death due to H5N1 viral infection,” said the director in his release.

The report of Bhopal institute’s findings reached Patna zoo authorities on Monday evening.

D K Shukla, the principal chief conservator of forests in Bihar, said, “We are not sure how the peacocks contacted the virus. Birds from outside tend to fly inside the sprawling campus. That could be a possible reason but that is a matter of investigation.”

“Although not fatal, the virus spreads rapidly and the decision to temporarily shut down the zoo was taken to minimise the possibility of catching the infection. The zoo is being thoroughly sanitised and experts would examine the campus after five days. Only after it is certified that it has been thoroughly sanitized and was safe for people, would the zoo be again thrown open at an appropriate time,” he said.

This is the second case of bird flu outbreak reported in the state this year.

Earlier this week, Munger district administration had ordered culling in four villages.

In July 2015, nearly 2500 birds were culled in Purnia whereas in 2013, around 6000 birds were culled in Purnia, Kishanganj and Katihar after symptoms of Avian influenza were found.

Deputy chef minister Sushil Kumar Modi said that those persons or families who have booked their tickets in advance for New Year day can either get their tickets extended or refunded.

First Published: Dec 26, 2018 15:12 IST