Zoo to conduct more check-ups for birds, says no scare

The Delhi Zoo authorities have alerted veterinarians and other staff to keep a check on birds in the premises in case they show symptoms of avian flu.

This comes after 45 birds were found dead in the Sultanpur National Park on Saturday morning. Most of the birds which died were Eurasian coots — a breed of true migratory bird.

Though the final reports have not arrived yet, it appears to be a case in which the birds consumed pesticide-laced crops, said officials. Avian flu has not been ruled out either.

However, though the Delhi Zoo authorities said there is no reason to panic even though the veterinarians would conduct check-ups.

Also, the Delhi Zoo has received very few Eurasian coots till now, said the authorities.

“There is little chance of true migratory birds being affected with avian flu here. Moreover, according to the pattern, the same batch of true migratory birds arrive at the Delhi Zoo every year. There is a possibility that the true migratory birds there fed on crops with pesticide in the Sultanpur National Park. So there is no bird flu scare yet,” said Riaz Ahmed Khan, Curator, Delhi Zoo.

“Veterinarians and immediate workers have been alerted to promptly report if any regular bird also shows symptoms of avian flu,” he added.

The Zoo has received over 2,000 true migratory birds this year. With the local migratory birds, the total count goes up to over 5,000.

“We had received around eight varieties of true migratory birds. Coots have arrived here in small numbers. The final count of the total number of birds which has arrived here this year is awaited,” said Khan.

The varieties of migratory birds include storks, great cormorant, Siberian cranes and pelican, among other varieties. In October, traps were laid to captivate birds so that they could be tested for the H5N1 virus.

Recently, the zoo lost its male ostrich. The authorities had claimed the ostrich died after suffering from “severe cold conditions”.  

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