Culling poses threat to "Hansali", a rare species of game cock

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Baripada, Feb 7 (UNI) The tribals in Mayurbhanj, residing close to the West Bengal border, have expressed deep anguish and displeasure over the decision of culling poultry birds in their villages to prevent bird flu.

They feared that a very rare species of game cock, locally called ''Haansli,'' might face threat of extinction if such mass culling is carried out in Mayurbhanj.

According to Sukhlal Hansda, a gamecock lover, the ''Haansli'' breed could be put at par with the ''Aseel'' - the real game-fowl well known for its pugnacious behaviour and strut.

The tribals of Mayurbhanj rear this ''Haansli'' variety through years of painstaking rearing, Hansda said..

Any fabulous price can be offered for such a fighter cock. It may range from Rs.1000 to Rs.2000 for each gamefowl, said Ramdas Murmu of Betna village.

Besides this, the tribals feared that the mass culling will deprive them of their means of livelihood and will shatter their economy.

In all 15 culling teams with five members in each are all set to swing into culling operations in 152 villages under 18 Gram Panchayats of Mayurbhanj district lying within five km radius of West Bengal's Bird flu-hit areas.

Meanwhile, official sources said samples collected from the border villages of Mayurbhanj and sent to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory(HSADL) Bhopal were tested negative for the bird-flu.

Altogether 128 samples have so far been sent to the HSADL, Bhopal, sources indicated. Notwithstanding this, 15 culling teams equipped with their Personal Protection Equipment and dresses, are all set to swing into mass culling as soon as the final state government order reaches the district, sources said.

Though the state government has decided to undertake culling of chickens in border villages of Balasore and Mayurbhanj, yet no official communication in this regard had so far been received by the district authority to carry out the operation.

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