Forest officials to keep vigil on migratory birds

No cases of bird flu reported in A.P. so far; instructions have been issued to monitor the birds in sanctuaries, water bodies, says official

The State and the Central governments have sounded an alert and asked the Forest and the Animal Husbandry department officials to take steps to prevent the outbreak of bird flu in Andhra Pradesh.

The Forest authorities, in association with veterinary surgeons, have decided to step up surveillance at reservoirs, lakes, tanks, rivers, coastal areas, mudflats, mangrove regions and other water bodies to check whether any birds are dead in the last few days.

โ€œAs of now, no case of bird flu has been reported in Andhra Pradesh. Instructions have been given to monitor the birds in sanctuaries, water bodies, lakes and other places. Proper vigil should be kept on zoos and samples should be collected, in case of any symptoms are noticed,โ€ said Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF-Wildlife Management) Rahul Pandey.

Wildlife officials, ornithologists and volunteers will visit the sanctuaries and observe the health condition of pelicans, flamingoes, storks, ibis and other migrant species of birds nesting in lakes, sanctuaries, mudflats and in the mangroves and report to the government through the Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) concerned.

Migratory birds

โ€œBirds arrive from China, Siberia, Russia and other countries. The DFOs and ornithologists have been asked to observe the birds in Kolleru and Pulicat lakes, Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary, Uppalapadu, Nelapattu, Coringa, Telineelapuram, near Tekkali, Kondakarla Ava, at Visakhapatnam, Telikunji at Srikakulam and Seetanagaram in Vizianagaram district,โ€ Mr. Pandey said.

โ€œDuring winter season, about three lakh birds visit Andhra Pradesh every year. We are also observing the situation in the neighbouring States, as birds fly from the nearest sanctuaries and lakes to Pulicat, Coringa and other places,โ€ said Divisional Forest Officer (DFO-Wildlife Management) C. Selvam.

Protocol in zoos

The Forest department authorities and the Animal Husbandry officials discussed taking preventive steps. An alert has been sounded as a few cases of bird flu have been reported in four States in the country, the CCF said. โ€œWe have a protocol to be followed in zoos. Instructions have been given to spray disinfectant and maintain close observation,โ€ Mr. Selvam said.

The CCF said that if a bird was affected with flu, its neck would be tilted, it flies upside down and becomes weak. In case of any deaths, the officials would collect samples and follow the scientific methods to analyse the cause of death. District and State-level teams had been constituted to take up surveillance, Mr. Pandey added.

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