Jaipur: After the death of over 250 crows in several districts of Rajasthan including Jaipur, the animal husbandry department has issued an avian influenza alert and is conducting sampling of birds from all wetlands in the state.
The avian influenza entered Jaipur on Sunday with seven dead crows found at the Jal Mahal, a major tourist attraction in the old part of Jaipur, Two sick crows were also found.
The wildlife and animal husbandry departments were informed and teams of officials reached the site and took samples from the crow carcasses.
The samples have been sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal for testing. The birds were disposed of by burying them in pits and sprinkling sodium hypochlorite, said Kunji Lal Meena, secretary, animal husbandry department.
In view of the continuing deaths, the animal husbandry department held an emergency meeting on Sunday.
Meena issued orders to officials to collect 10 samples each from all wetlands in the state to get them tested. Over 75 bird samples from various places have already been sent for testing, he added.
“This virus has likely spread from migratory birds which arrive in Rajasthan in large numbers during winter. So I have issued orders to take samples from water bodies such as Sambhar Lake, Kaila Devi bird sanctuary so we can get them tested and contain the threat of the virus,” said Meena.
In the past 10 days, deaths of crows, peacocks and hens have been reported from seven districts of the state – Jhalawar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Baran, Nagaur and Pali. However, Meena said only crows have died due to avian influenza. He said the hens had tested negative for the virus while the peacocks had died after eating some poisonous substance.
Meena said so far there are reports of 250 crows having died of bird flu. Of the total, 100 crows have died in Jhalawar, 72 in Baran, 47 in Kota, 19 in Pali, seven in Jaipur and seven in Jodhpur.
He said the animal husbandry department has set-up a state-level control room to monitor the situation and keep the flu from spreading. Advisories have been issued to officials to follow the centre’s guidelines and to prevent spread of the virus to poultry and domestic animals.
The wildlife department has also issued advisories asking officials to keep a tab on deaths of birds and collect samples of the dead birds.
“The main aim is to prevent the spread of the flu. We have asked officials to keep tabs on any bird deaths. They have been asked to collect samples and to dispose of carcasses safely so that no other animal eats it which could lead to spread of the flu,” said Mohan Lal Meena, Chief Wildlife Warden.