A large number of crows, mynas and herons were found dead at a village in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, triggering panic over the possibility of the bird flu outbreak in the area, officials said on Tuesday.
District Animal Husbandry Officer Awadhesh Kumar Singh said 40-50 birds were found dead at the Pokharia village near Mohulpahari in the Shikaripada police station area on Monday.
The incident triggered panic among the locals as they feared the possibility of the bird flu outbreak in the area, he said.
Samples have been collected and sent for examination to Ranchi, Singh said, adding that the test reports would confirm if it is the bird flu or there was any other reason for the deaths.
Villagers noticed that birds were falling from the trees one after the other on Monday morning. After being on the ground shivering for a while, the birds died, locals said.
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As many as 905 birds including 753 poultry birds were found dead in Maharashtra in a 12-hour period and samples have been sent to the labs to check if any of them carried the avian influenza virus, an official said.
Since January 8, 3,949 birds have been found dead in the state, said an official of the Animal Husbandry Department on Friday.
“A total of 905 birds were found dead in 12 hours ending 9.30 pm on Thursday. As many as 753 were poultry birds. The rest were crows, herons, sparrows, parrots, etc. Samples have been sent for bird flu tests,” he said.
Since the first cases of bird flu infection were reported in the state, 14,507 birds have been culled, he said.
To avoid the spread of infection, carcasses are put in a gunny sack and buried in a ditch lined with a layer of lime.
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Bird flu virus was detected in around 50 crows whose carcasses were found in Indore in Madhya Pradesh last week, prompting authorities to issue an alert.
SAMPLES OF dead migratory water birds found at the Pong Dam Lake in Himachal Pradesh have tested positive for avian influenza or bird flu.
RT-PCR testing of samples of five dead Bar-Headed geese conducted at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal found all birds positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus, according to the report.
Around 1,800 migratory birds, most of them Bar-Headed Geese, have been found dead in the lake sanctuary so far.
“The laboratory at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly had detected avian influenza in the samples of dead birds, according to information conveyed to us by the Centre Monday. We were awaiting confirmation by NIHSAD as it is the nodal body for detecting this disease,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Archana Sharma. She added that the Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar has also suspected avian influenza in the bird samples.
Dr VK Gupta, joint director of the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis (CADRAD) at IVRI Bareilly, where the preliminary testing was conducted, said the samples had tested positive for antigens associated with influenza. The samples were then sent to the laboratory in Bhopal for a confirmatory test and to identify the type and strain of the virus, he added.
Director of animal husbandry Dr Ajmer Dogra said that the department has formed a rapid response team to deal with the suspected epizootic.
Bird flu is a highly infectious and severe respiratory disease in birds caused by the H5N1 influenza virus, which can occasionally infect humans as well, although human-to-human transmission is unusual, according to the World Health Organisation.
Birds in large numbers have been dying mysteriously across the country in recent days. In neighbouring Haryana, around a lakh poultry birds are reported to have died in Barwala in the last few days, while in Rajasthan, the death of a number of crows in Jhalawar has been linked to avian influenza. Samples of some ducks in Kerala have also reportedly tested positive for the bird flu.
In Himachal’s Pong Lake wildlife sanctuary, wildlife staff first reported the sudden death of four Bar-Headed Geese and one Common Teal in Fatehpur area last Monday. The next day, over 400 migratory waterfowl were found dead in Majhar, Bathari, Sihal, Jagnoli, Chatta, Dhameta and Kuthera areas in the wildlife ranges of Dhameta and Nagrota. Subsequently, hundreds more birds were found dead each day, totaling 1,773 till Sunday, Sharma said.
She said more than 90 per cent of the dead birds were Bar-Headed Geese, the most common migratory species at the lake who arrive here from Central Asia, Russia, Mongolia and other regions in winters after crossing the Himalayan ranges. There are 8-9 other bird species whose members have been found dead. Last year, more than one lakh migratory birds had camped at the lake by late January and this year, more than 50,000 have arrived so far.
The dead birds are being disposed off as per bird-flu protocol, officials said, adding that no such deaths have been reported so far from other water bodies in the state.
Kangra DC bans slaughter, sale, purchase, export of poultry, birds, fish
The Pong reservoir and and an area of radius one kilometre around its periphery has been declared an alert zone, in which no human and domestic livestock activities are now allowed and the movement of tourists as well as local residents has been banned, according to an order issued by Kangra DC Rakesh Prajapati under the Disaster Management Act. The next 9 km after the alert zone comprise a surveillance zone, and all tourism activity in the reservoir area has been suspended.
The DC has also prohibited slaughtering, sale, purchase and export of any poultry, birds, fish of any breed and their related products including eggs, meat, chicken etc. in Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora subdivisions of the district. He said that shops selling these products will also remain closed in these subdivisions.
Wildlife, veterinary and animal husbandry staff across the state have been put on alert and asked to immediately report the death of any bird or animal. The Gopalpur zoo in Kangra, which is situated near the Pong Lake, has been put on high alert.
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A medical team is trying to cure around 50 peacocks while a post mortem was being conducted on 2 peacocks till the time of filing this report.
Kalwa sarpanch Dilip Singh confirmed that many peacocks were found dead under a banyan tree and the matter was reported to the authorities.
Didwana Ranger Arjun Ram said that one crow, five pigeons and a few more birds have been found dead. Also a few birds were found injured who are being trated.
Nagaur MP Hanuman Beniwal demanded that the state forest minister look into the issue and order a probe into the matter.
“Received the heart wrenching report on peacocks and birds being found dead in Makrana area of Nagaur district. Forest minister should look into the issue,” he said in a tweet.
Mohanlal Meena, Chief Wildlife Warden told IANS, “I am unaware of the issue. Will collect information in this matter.”
Bird flu was confirmed on Wednesday in a Jhalawad area where around 100 crows were found dead. The district administration has declared a zero mobility zone within one kilometre of the area to ensure the infection does not spread to other birds.
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The message about the found dead birds began to arrive to the hunters on March 7. Dozens of corpses crows, starlings, pheasants and partridges found in the landings.
Local residents also reported that they find dead animals – foxes and dogs. As established by the members of the Azov Primary Hunting Group, the corpses of animals are located near fields planted with rapeseed.
It is suspected that the green grain of wheat used for rodent control has become a poison for animals.
“We traveled only one landing and found dead foxes, crows, partridges, buzzards and starlings. By the way, buzzards and starlings are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. We also found many plague birds, that is, those who died and could no longer fly,” said the head of the team Roman Serdyayev.
Militiamen recorded the fact of poisoning of birds and animals, found a grain of green color, which was removed from the scene, and also received a statement from the hunters.
Dead animals and birds were found in the fields leased by Primorsky LLC and not only in Kirillovka, but also in other territories of the Akimov district. Veterinary experts are already conducting their own investigation.
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Panic has gripped the locals of the Nandankanan locality on the city outskirt following the death of a large number of birds in the vicinity.
While locals suspect bird flu, the authorities are yet to ascertain the cause of the deaths reported over the weekend.
The locals, who have demanded a probe into the deaths, said the crow carcasses were found in the Nandankanan locality, Daruthenga, Nandankanan bus stand and in Barachhak.
Authorities at Nandankanan Zoological Park said they were taking emergency measures to protect the birds. The park has a rich depository of local and migratory birds, who make the zoo their home in the winters.
Earlier, carcass of crows were found in Puri and Chilika lake as well.
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Nearly 500 crows have been found dead in the past four days at Baghiari village near Tarn Taran, which is close to a bird sanctuary at Sarai Amanat Khan. With bird flu causing deaths of geese at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, senior officials of the Animal Husbandry Department have responded quickly to take preventive measures in the area. The district administration is also on alert.
“The reasons for the birds’ deaths could be the use of pesticide in fields, contaminated water or the cold wave. However, we have sent the carcasses of birds to Regional Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar to know the exact cause of the deaths,” said Dr Raminder Monga, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department. He added that it would take six days to know the reason for such a high bird mortality,” said Dr Monga. Deputy Commissioner Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal met officials of various departments and constituted response teams. Amarinder Singh Tiwana, a PCS officer, has been made the point person to coordinate with all teams. Dhaliwal urged people in the area to stay alert and do not panic.
“We are keeping a close watch on the areas where migratory birds land in a big number. We have collected blood samples of migratory birds from Harike Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said.
Wildlife officials at the Harike sanctuary, spread over about 90 km, have gone into overdrive following the reports of avian influenza at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. Harike Divisional Forest Officer Neeraj Gupta said the bird droppings had been sent for investigation to ascertain their health status. “We have also banned the entry of visitors to the lake. All steps are being taken as a precautionary measure following the bird flu scare,” Gupta said.
Courtesy The Tribune