No avian death reported from Kashmir's prominent Hokersar wetland, but officials maintain vigil

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Srinagar, Jan 11 (PTI) No bird deaths have been reported from Hokersar wetland -- Kashmir's largest and the most prominent wetland -- even as a sustained surveillance and monitoring campaign for bird flu has been launched in the valley, officials said on Monday.

A team of experts from the Institute of Animal Health and Biological Products (IAH&BP), Zakura, Animal Husbandry Department, Kashmir, in coordination with the Wildlife Protection Department, Kashmir, visited the wetland Monday to set in motion sustained surveillance and monitoring for bird flu (Avian Influenza) here, an official spokesman said.

He said the team from IAH&BP collected 21 samples in accordance with the laid down guidelines and standard operating procedures for avian influenza which are being forwarded to High Security Animal Disease Lab, Bhopal and RDDL Jalandhar for further testing.

The spokesman said a wildlife veterinarian, accompanying the team, informed that no deaths in birds were reported from the Hokersar wetland -- the largest and most prominent of wetlands in Kashmir.

The team made an awareness presentation to the staff posted at Hokersar and advised them to remain vigilant for immediate reporting of any signs/symptoms of avian influenza or deaths in the wild birds that have migrated to Kashmir valley presently, the spokesman said.

He said the Wildlife Warden for wetlands, Hokersar, Ifshan Dewan, informed the team that almost 1.5 lakh birds of different species are presently stationed at Hokersar for breeding as well as winter nesting.

Meanwhile, surveillance samples were also taken from the Dal Lake and adjoining areas for testing, the spokesman added. PTI SSB MIJ TIR TIR