After grey partridge ,rosy pelican dies at Delhi zoological park

NewDelhi,Oct28:The National Zoological Park here reported one more bird death on Thursday, taking the overall toll to 70, and may remain out of bounds for visitors for the next three months, an official said.

Standard protocol

Identified as a rosy pelican, samples from the bird have been sent for testing and the Centre-appointed panel apprised, the official added.

“The standard protocol for H5N1 influenza prescribes a closure period of at least 45 days. H5N8 does not have any protocol, but norms will be followed and the zoo may remain shut for a longer period, may be for around three months,” a government official said.

Sources said the authorities would give a nod to re-open the zoo after they were convinced that itwas virus-free. The origin of the viral strain will also have to be established.

A Delhi government official said there were reports of pigeon deaths in Old Delhi, but the cause could not be ascertained immediately. “The likelihood of it being a case of [bird] flu death is low,” the official said.

The Union Agriculture Secretary also reviewed the action taken to control avian influenza. A team of scientists from the Pune-based National Institute of Virology have already visited the Delhi zoo and collected samples, sensitised and trained the zoo staff about bio-security measures against avian influenza.

The zoo had reported the death of a grey partridge on Wednesday. Zoo curator Riyaz Khan, however, refused to equate the death with bird flu, saying the captive bird died due to fighting with other birds in the enclosure.

A total of 13 water birds, including painted storks, ducks and pelicans, have died of H5N8 avian influenza on ts premises since October 14. A team of the Central Zoo Authority is stationed at the Delhi zoo to monitor the situation. — PTI