Delhi’s National Zoological Park has temporarily shut down after suspected cases of Avia. Around 8 water birds and a few ducks and pelicans were reported to have been affected by bird flu last week, media reported.
“The zoo has been shut down until further notice. We have sent samples of a couple of dead ducks to Jalandhar and Mathura. We are awaiting the report,” a zoo official said.
The cases of the flu come a nearly month after India declared itself free from the highly contagious avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu.
The official reportedly claimed that influenza will not affect humans and the shutting down of zoo premises was a precautionary measure. A team of Central Zoo Authority will shortly visit the premises of the zoo which houses around 40 pelicans and 20 ducks.
“The issue was detected last Friday and Saturday in which a total of nine birds died including rosy pelicans, painted storks and ducks. We sent the samples to Jalandhar and Bhopal and few birds were detected with influenza and since then there have been no deaths,” Riyaz Khan, PRO of the zoo told media persons in New Delhi.
The zoo official, as a cautionary method, prohibited all visits for a few days until the entire area is declared as safe by the concerned agencies, who will be arriving to take stock of the situation.
The National Zoological Park has been battling with a spate of animal deaths since earlier this year. Around 46 spotted deers were found dead at its premises in January. India had declared itself free from bird flu in September.
The government, in a statement, had also emphasised the need for “continued surveillance especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds”.
Bird flu affects mainly the domestic poultry. The disease spreads from infected birds to other winged creatures through contact with nasal and respiratory secretions and also due to contamination of feed and water.