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Saturday, January 14, 2012

India : Migratory bird death causes flu ripples in Chilika

Via Times of India :

" BERHAMPUR: Bird flu scare spread to Chilika lake with a migratory bird found dead in Nalabana sanctuary, even as culling of poultry continued for the second day on Friday in Keranga of Khurda district.

Wildlife officials found a dead brown-headed gull, a migratory bird, from the bird sanctuary area in the lake on Thursday. Officials of the animal resources department have collected at least 20 samples of eight migratory birds of different species, including the dead brown-headed gull, for testing.

Besides the dead bird, swabs and blood samples of other birds have been collected by doctors of the veterinary department from the sanctuary area, said divisional forest officer (DFO) of Chilika Wildlife Division, B P Acharya. Officials of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and wildlife organization of the forest department helped trap the birds to take samples. Wildlife officials said the bird samples had earlier tested negative for avian flu.

Surveillance has been stepped up in Chilika, the biggest water fowl habitat in the country, to check the spread of the flu. "Surveillance has been stepped up in the entire 1,100 sq km area of the lake," the DFO said.

Migratory birds from far away Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and Southeast Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas descend to the lake every winter for feeding and roosting. They start their homeward journey with the onset of summer."

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