Delhi zoo on alert for signs of disease

A zoo official said, “No symptoms have been noticed in any of the birds at the zoo so far. There are around 200 local birds such as black kites, barn owls and vultures that inhabit the zoo, and there is a flock of painted storks, which are migratory birds, who are at the zoo as of now.”

A “tyre bath” of all vehicles entering the premises, spraying of a disinfectant every six hours, and a bird-keeper monitoring local and migratory birds all day — these are some of the measures being taken at the National Zoological Park in the wake of fear of avian flu in the capital.

A zoo official said, “No symptoms have been noticed in any of the birds at the zoo so far. There are around 200 local birds such as black kites, barn owls and vultures that inhabit the zoo, and there is a flock of painted storks, which are migratory birds, who are at the zoo as of now.”

The official said in 2016, the zoo was shut for 83 days after three-four cases of avian flu were detected. “Since then, avian influenza drills are regularly done. Tyres of vehicles entering the zoo are washed with a chemical. In the wake of this new threat, we’ve increased the frequency of disinfectant, Virkon, being sprayed from two to four times a day. The bird keeper is looking for signs such as sudden collapse of birds or dullness in feathers.”

The zoo has been shut since last year due to the pandemic, and is expected to reopen in April. “Staff is anyway equipped with gloves and masks, we’ve also given them a special uniform due to avian flu fears,” said the official.

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