Mysuru Zoo reopens, 5,000 people visit on Friday

Bio-security measures to continue for next three months

After a month’s closure due to bird flu scare, Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens was reopened to public on Friday.There was an overwhelming response on Friday with a large number of tourists including school students visiting the zoo. Visitors were welcomed with sweets and flowers by Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) chairperson Mallige Veeresh, Zoo Director Kamala Karikalan and members of various organisations. Tourists started pouring in from 8 am even though the zoo opens at 10 am. In all, 4,922 people visited the zoo on Friday while it was 5,069 on the corresponding day, last year.

The zoo was closed on January 4 after laboratory results confirmed the death of two spot-billed pelicans and four greylag geese, between December 28 and 30, 2016, due to Avian Influenza H5N8. Speaking to DH, Zoo Director Kamala Karikalan said that they did not expect such a huge response from people on the first day of reopening and anticipated crowds to sore only over the weekend.

Kamala said a decision was taken to reopen the zoo after a high-level meeting of top officials of the Central Zoo Authority, departments of Animal Husbandry and Forests was held in Bengaluru on February 1. It gave an official nod to reopen as samples of bird droppings and blood were tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal and the reports were negative for bird flu.

However, bio-security measures will be intensified and continued for the next three months. According to the guidelines, the samples of bird droppings would be sent for testing twice a month as precautionary measures. Though it was claimed that influenza may not affect humans, a decision was taken to close the 124-year-old zoo for the first time for such a long time to prevent visitors from becoming possible carriers of influenza. The enclosures were cleaned and precautionary measures were taken to spray disinfectants.

Awareness has been created among animal keepers and other employees of the zoo and they have been instructed to wear safety masks and gloves. With Mysuru Zoo free from bird flu scare, visitors and tourists need not worry about visiting the most popular tourist destination of the city, Kamala said.
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