Grey partridge found dead in Delhi zoological park

NewDelhi,Oct27:A grey partridge was found dead at the National Zoological Park, the committee constituted by the Environment Ministry to monitor the avial flu situation confirmed on Wednesday. The suspected bird flu toll now stands at 67.

“Mortality status within 24 hours: National Zoological Park in New Delhi – one grey partridge, an in-house bird; Deer Park in New Delhi – nil, and Gwalior zoo – nil,” an official statement said.

The three-member committee constituted to oversee the outbreak of H5N8 avian influenza said on Wednesday said that apart from the grey partridge, no deaths were reported from the Deer Park in Hauz Khas, and the Gwalior zoo.

Samples collected

Scientists from the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune have already visited the Delhi Zoo and collected samples, besides sensitising and training zoo staff about bio-security measures to be taken against avian influenza.

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry had issued a health advisory to States, asking them to minimise bird-human interaction to prevent an avian influenza outbreak.

Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave had constituted a monitoring committee after considering reports of bird deaths in Delhi-NCR and other parts of the country due to the avian influenza virus.

The committee comprises member secretary of the Central Zoo Authority, director of the National Zoological Park and deputy Inspector General of Forest (Wildlife). On Wednesday, a doctor visited and examined exposed employees of the zoo, who were later provided medication.

Also, samples from other birds at the Gandhi Zoological Park in Gwalior have been sent to the National Institute for High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal.

 A report on this is awaited.

The memorial of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Shakti Sthal, had to be closed on Tuesday after two more ducks died due to suspected avian influenza.

Birds in Delhi, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) and Kerala have tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is said to be less risky for humans.