Bird flu: Jharkhand zoos on high alert after reports of bird deaths in different states
The wildlife wing of Jharkhand forest department has sounded a high alert for zoos and bird sanctuary in wake of death reports of a large number of birds, including migratory birds, in different states of the country, officials said on Monday.
The department on Monday issued an advisory in this regard and zoos have been asked to follow the guideline issued by the wildlife division of Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change on Sunday.
The Centre has asked all the states including Jharkhand to take all possible measures to prevent the deaths of birds. The division in its letter, a copy of which is with HT, said, “Although the exact reasons for the deaths are being ascertained, preliminary report indicates that it is a case of avian influenza virus.”
Jharkhand chief wildlife warden Rajeev Ranjan said, “Though Jharkhand has not yet reported any such death of birds, it is being reported from various states of the country. An unconfirmed report suggests that the virus has also killed some birds in West Bengal. So, we need to be on high alert.”
He said they have issued an advisory in this regard to all zoos and bird sanctuary asking them to take all necessary precautions to prevent the transmission of the disease. “We have also asked to keep a close vigil on the health of the animals in the zoos,” Ranjan said.
Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have recently reported deaths of hundreds of birds. The Centre has asked all the states to report incidences of animal mortalities to the Centre.
Ranchi’s Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park, popularly known as Birsa zoo, at Ormanjhi block, has enhanced the routine spray and health check of animals in the zoo. The birds are being served amino modulator drug in water and food to make their immune system stronger against the diseases.
Spread over an area of 104 hectares of land, the zoo has over 600 birds of 37 species kept in five big enclosures.
“We have doubled the anti-virus spray. Earlier, it was done once in a week. From this week, it will be done twice in a week. Similarly, the check-up of animals’ health, which was done once in a week, will be conducted twice in a week,” said the zoo director YK Das.
He said the health of the animals is also being monitored through CCTV cameras installed in the zoo. As many as 156 CCTV cameras, a closed-circuit television surveillance system with video data analysis, have been installed for more than 80 animal enclosures and sensitive points.
The zoo saw deaths of five peacocks in November. However, the zoo director said, “All the five peacocks had been rescued from Dhanbad and they were seriously injured. They were sent to Birsa zoo but they succumbed to injury during treatment. They did not die of any disease or virus.”
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