SUBJECT : Avian Flu: Bird sites, poultry farms put on alert 

With avian influenza being reported from different parts of the country, the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department of Odisha has asked the districts to keep a watch on unusual mortality among birds and report them without delay.

The major birding sites of the State, including the 1100 sq km Chilika lagoon, have been put on alert. An advisory has been issued to the Chief District Veterinary Officers (CDVOs) to remain vigilant and step up surveillance around the broiler firms as well as birding sites.

Commissioner-cum-Secretary Bishnupada Sethi said, the districts have been advised to report any unusual mortality so that samples can be sent to the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory at Bhopal.

However, so far, no suspicious bird death has been reported from any part, he added.

The Wildlife Wing has also activated the standard protocol to keep a watch on migratory birds and unusual mortality. The Chilika Wildlife Division has requested the Animal Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) to collect samples and send those for investigation.

Chief Wildlife Warden Sidhanta Das said, the birding sites have already been alerted to follow the standard measures for surveillance and reporting.

Chilika lagoon, one of the largest birding sites in India, has reported arrival of migratory water fowls but the numbers are still low. Wigeons and Pintails have arrived at some parts of the lagoon, including Manlajodi, but waders are still to be seen.

The showers and delay in receding of water in the mudflats of Nalabana Bird Sanctuary could be the causes behind the low count though November is knocking at the doors. “Until water level recedes and mudflats are exposed, birds can not roost. We expect the avian guests to come in more numbers once the water level goes down,” DFO, Chilika Bikash Ranjan Dash said.

The showers apart, formation of the cyclonic storm Kyant over the Bay of Bengal could also play a spoilsport for the birds this time. Inclement weather is known to disturb the birds in their migration paths. In anticipation of the birds, the Chilika Wildlife Division has already constituted 18 anti-poaching camps besides putting in place a boat for patrolling and a mobile unit with five members. Khurda SP has also been requested to send an APR unit from November to help the anti-poaching measures.

Source: The New Indian Express