More than 1700 birds have been found dead in the Pong Dam sanctuary of Himachal Pradesh. The deaths are reported largely in Jagmoli and Guglada areas of Dhameta and Nagrota Surian forest beats. Most of the birds found dead are migratory birds such as endangered bar-headed geese, black-headed gulls, shoveler ducks and teal ducks.
Every year, around 1 lakh birds migrate to Pong Dam bird sanctuary in winter and stay there during the nesting period for about 4 months.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Archana Sharma said that the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly has confirmed the bird flu virus in the samples of dead birds. The samples are also sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal for further confirmation of the bird flu virus.
According to the protocol, the forest department staff will collect and burn the dead bodies of the infected birds in a deep burial pit by wearing a PPE kit to reduce the spread of bird flu.
As a precautionary measure, authorities have suspended tourism around the Pong Dam Sanctuary in Kangra district. They have also banned the sale and purchase and export of poultry products, birds and fish in some parts of the Kangra district.
Kangra district magistrate Rakesh Prajapati also announced that the poultry shops will remain closed in Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora areas of the Kangra district for now.
Three states have already confirmed bird flu cases.
Rajasthan government has issued bird flu alerts after the death of 252 crows in several districts of Rajasthan including Jhalawar, Baran and Kota.
In Madhya Pradesh, bird flu cases have also been confirmed in 50 dead crows in Indore and 100 dead crows in Mandsaur.
Recently, Bird flu cases has been confirmed in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in Kerala. Authorities will order the culling of about 50,000 ducks in 1-kilometer radius of the affected areas.