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2 birds die in Keoladeo Park, precautionary steps in place

By Staff
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Jaipur, Feb 23 (UNI) The world famous Bharatpur Sanctuary (Keoladeo Ghana National Park), home to thousands of migratory birds, is taking all precautionary measures to check bird flu.

''Although two birds - one Egret and another Rosy Pelican, a migratory bird - were found dead over the last two days, there is no need for fear,'' sanctuary director Vijay Salwan told UNI over the phone.

Egret is a local bird while Rosy Pelican comes from Siberia. The pelican had consumed a plastic pouch and probably died of because of that. The samples have been sent to Jaipur and the reports are awaited, Mr Salwan said.

Meanwhile, the sanctuary's staff has been asked to conduct a search every three hours starting early morning, for any dead and sick-looking birds.

The orders were passed after reports of bird flu outbreak from Navapur in Maharashtra came out last week.

The staff have been instructed to immediately inform the veterinary doctors on coming across any dead or sick looking birds.

The birds droppings are also being collected and samples are being sent for infection analysis either to Jaipur or Bhopal on a regular basis. The reports of two dead birds in the past few days sent earlier have turned out to be negative, informed Salwan.

However, a strict surveillance is being maintained over the birds in the park spread over an area of 28.73 sq km,home to over 375 species of birds.

A veterinary doctor and a compounder have been specially posted in the park for the purpose.

Keoladeo has migratory birds like Siberian Crane, Steppe Eagle, Pale and Marsh Harriers, Osprey, Common Teal, Indian little ringed Plover and Bar-headed goose flocking to it every winter.

The bar-headed goose - one of the supposed carriers of bird flu virus - is still present in thousands in the Park.

Although 50 per cent of the migratory birds have flown back to their destination, the rest will leave by March 15 , Mr Salwan said.

However, wildlife expert Harsvardhan said Rajasthan is ill-equipped to handle such a disease in case of an outbreak.

UNI RRT SHB RR RS1523

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