High alert against Bird flu sounded in Orissa

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Bhitarkanika (Bhubaneshwar), Dec 29 (ANI): As hundreds of migratory birds have started flocking the Bhitarkanika National Park in Bhubaneshwar, authorities have sounded high alert following the outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal.

Several migratory birds and residential avian species like sand piper, plover, duck, goose, heron, spoon bill and egret flock the park every winter.

Many shore bird species like sand piper, plover, duck, goose, heron, spoon bill and egret were seen around the park.

Avocet, which comes from cold places like Siberia and Bar-headed Geese from Ladakh, were also sighted near Raitapatia and Chataka.

A horde of 206 Indian Skimmers was flocking at Barunes. Brahmin ducks were also spotted at Raitapatia.

The Annual bird census 2008 carried out by the park authorities found that 79 types of water bird species thronged the park this year.

During the bird census, the forest officials have sighted seven types of winter migratory birds' species, which are listed in the Red Data book of International Union Conservation (IUCN).

This year the number of birds visiting the region has declined. Last year about 1.31 lakh of birds had flocked the park area.

The state forest department was maintaining a strict vigil and was carefully working to check the presence of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus.

"Some of our ranger officers have got training regarding the bird flu and have alerted all our staff," said Arvind Mishra, a range officer.

Hundreds of veterinary workers in Malda district of West Bengal began killing up to 16,000 chickens and ducks in mid December as authorities tried to contain the latest outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus in the region. (ANI)

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