Bird flu scare: Lucknow Zoo suspends bird exchange programme, closes aviary for visitors

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Lucknow, Jan 11 (PTI) The Lucknow Zoo has suspended its bird exchange programme and closed its aviary for visitors after Uttar Pradesh confirmed outbreak of the avian influenza when samples of a couple of bird carcasses in Kanpur zoo were found positive for the disease.

The Kanpur Zoological Park has already been closed for visitors till further orders.

Director of the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden R K Singh told PTI on Monday, 'The bird section of the Lucknow Zoo was closed on Sunday and the bird exchange programme has been temporarily suspended.' Vitamin content in the food for birds has been increased. Eggs and chicken given to birds have been stopped and replaced with mutton and more fruits, he said.

Footwash containing potassium permanganate has been kept at the entrance of the zoo, so that visitors do not bring any viral infection inside, Singh said.

'All keepers in the zoo have been informed to immediately report unusual conditions found in any bird and isolate it immediately. The samples will be sent to Bhopal for testing,' he said.

The outbreak was confirmed in seven states -- Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh -- as on January 10. On Monday, bird flu has also been confirmed in Delhi, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary R K Tewari held a virtual meeting with the state-level task force to deal with the situation arising out of bird flu outbreak.

He directed officials to create public awareness about what is needed to be done under these circumstances and asked all departments concerned to promptly initiate precautionary measures.

A 24-hour control room has been set up at the animal husbandry directorate, a government spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, in Shahjahanpur's Kalaan area locals claimed that three ducks were found dead on Friday morning.

Additional Director of Animal Husbandry department Jeevan Dutt on Monday said, 'We got information today. Sample from other ducks will be sent to Bareilly for testing.' In Bareilly, senior scientist of Indian Veterinary Research Institute V K Gupta said samples from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand were being received by the laboratory for testing. Deputy chief veterinary officer of Pilibhit said information about death of some hens were reported in the district, adding prima facie the birds died due to poisoning. Their samples have been sent for testing.

In Ballia, carcasses of five crows were found on Sunday night in Sahatwar police station area. Chief veterinary officer of the district Ashok Mishra said, 'The forest department has taken all the carcasses in its custody and those were being sent to Bhopal for testing.' PTI CORR/NAV SAB NSD NSD