Mysuru zoo to collect bird droppings for flu testing
Mysuru, Jan 6:The Mysuru zoo will collect samples of droppings of 813 birds of 79 species every week this month, and will send it to the National Institute of High Security and Animal Diseases in Bhopal for investigation.
“If the lab results on the samples sent each week are found negative, the zoo will reopen. This could happen in less than a month if the lab and the experts advise it,” zoo Executive Director Kamala K. told The Hindu .
When the lab in Bhopal confirmed that avian influenza (H5N8) was the cause of death of some migratory birds on the zoo premises, a decision was taken to close the zoo till February 2.
While assuring the people that the situation is not alarming since the virus is not virulent for humans, Ms. Kamala said the step to shut down the zoo was taken in the interests of public health, animals and birds.
Executive Director justifies zoo closure
Ms. Kamala defended the closure of the Mysuru zoo saying it was necessary since bird enclosures and ponds are spread across the zoo campus.
“If the enclosures and ponds were confined to one side, there would not have been the need to shut down the entire zoo. We acted on experts’ advice.”
Quoting some veterinarians and experts, she said: The influenza virus can survive for at least a month in wet conditions. It’s a kind of incubation period for it. Birds can act as major carriers of the virus and the affected birds may further spread the virus. For these reasons, the zoo had to be shut.”
The entire zoo campus has been sprayed with viricide to prevent spread of the virus.
Zoo workers are wearing protective gear and enough precautions have been taken, she said, adding that no further bird deaths have been reported either from the zoo or from the Karanji Lake Nature Park.
The zoo on Wednesday received an advisory from the Commissioner of Animal Husbandry recommending shutting down the zoo for one month.
Meanwhile, the Forest Department has taken precautions at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Mysuru. It is monitoring the birds and collecting droppings for lab tests.