After bird flu scare, no chicken for animals in BBP

The bird flu outbreak has prompted authorities at the Bannerghatta Biological Park to stop feeding chicken nd eggs to the wild animals.

Park authorities have also put in place safety measures for staff and visitors. BBP executive director R Gokul said the ban on feeding chicken, chicks and eggs would continue
until the current outbreak subsides.

"We'd instead substitute chicken with beef and fish," he added.

Authorities, however, are afraid that a seven-year-old male Common Langur in the park may go hungry since it has always been fed boiled eggs.

They are desperately searching for a food substitute for the animal.

"This (unnamed male Langur) relishes boiled eggs. I'm surprised and equally worried. This, however, is not entirely rare," Gokul said.

Though park authorities keep vegetables and fruits in its enclosure, the Langur waits for the boiled egg to appear on its plate every day. The animal has developed a taste for the egg in the past one year, a caretaker said.

To feed the wildlife here, authorities buy 15 kg of chicken, 36 kg fish, 374 chicks and 700 kg of beef.

The animals are not fed pork since the higher bacterial content would harm the health of the carnivorous beasts. They are fed six days a week and are allowed to diet on Tuesday.

Among the 1,983 beasts in the park, three are Common male Langurs (Hanuman Langur), four are Spectacled Langurs (Dusky Leaf monkey) and 369 are avian

The staff are constantly watching the birds. Should one of them die, they would isolate them and conduct a postmortem.

They will also watch for any symptoms of H5N1 virus. Gokul said the staff are also monitored for possible infection.

Park authorities have decided against closing down the zoo and have asked visitors to watch the birds from a distance and report if they find any of them dull, ailing or dead.

They have kept trays filled with potassium permanganate at the entrance for visitors to dip their feet before entering the park.

Vehicles coming to the park are also closely monitored. Park officials have asked visitors not to bring chicken or eggs for the time being.

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