With the outbreak of bird flu in atleast five states, the authorities of the Alipore Zoological Garden in Kolkata are taking a series of preventive and precautionary measures that include regular clinical check-ups of the birds and animals in all the enclosures and administering them anti-viral and anti-bacterial medicines.
Several states such as Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh have been put on high alert after thousands of birds died from the spread of the H5N8 strain of the avian influenza. Atleast 2000 birds died in Himachal and several hundred in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh where cows were also affected. Kolkata too witnessed outbreak of bird flu in the past. The present outbreak has caused a stir among zoo authorizes in the affected states.
Talking to The Statesman, the director of Alipore Zoological Garden, Ashis Samanta said, “We have been on alert since last year February due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However with the present outbreak of this flu in other states, we are monitoring all the enclosures and regular medical check-ups of the birds and animals is being conducted by our medical team. Anti-viral and anti-bacterial medicines are being administered to them.”
Commenting on whether samples of bird swabs or feathers are being sent for tests, he pointed out, “Till now, none of the birds showed any apparent symptoms of the virus and neither have any other animals. However, we have kept them under strict observation and will opt for tests as soon as symptoms begin to show.”
The Alipore Zoo, confirmed the director, houses more than 600 birds belonging to wide variety of species. The Union ministry of fisheries and animal husbandry has claimed today that migratory birds are the cause for the spread of this zoonotic virus. In a bid to avoid spread to humans, the ministry has floated guidelines which includes that states need to coordinate with the forest department for reporting any sudden pattern of high mortality in birds.