The number of dead migratory birds at the Himachal Pradesh's Pong wildlife sanctuary in Kangra district has reached 3,409 as 381 more were found dead on Thursday, an official said on Thursday. Meanwhile, officials said 64 crows have also been found dead in the past a few days in areas near the Pong wetland.
A number of crows were found dead in Bilaspur district, they said, adding that their samples have been collected for testing. The birds are believed to have died due to an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza, a type of bird flu caused by the H5N1 strain of Influenza A virus.
A team of experts from Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India is on a visit to the Pong wetland to assess the situation and give advice to contain the outbreak, Chief Wildlife Warden Archana Sharma said. She said 10 rapid response teams are working in nine beats of the sanctuary area for the collection and safe disposal of dead birds. Fifty-five people have been deployed for daily surveillance operations.
Besides, a control room has also been set up at Nagrota Surian to receive and disseminate all bird flu outbreak-related information, she said. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will hold a review meeting at Dharamshala on Friday with wildlife, animal husbandry, health and police officials, an official spokesman said. The CM said Tamiflu capsules and other flu-related provisions have been provided to the frontline field staff engaged in handling and disposal of birds.
The Animal Husbandry Department is trying to contain the spread of the virus to domestic birds or further to humans, the officials said.
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