Bird flu: Migratory birds near Sukhna Lake under watch

A day after several geese were culled and Sukhna Lake was cordoned off following a bird flu scare, the administration today said it is also keeping a watch on migratory birds near the water body even as it assured that there was no outbreak of the disease in the city.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 19, 2014, 19:09 PM IST

Chandigarh: A day after several geese were culled and Sukhna Lake was cordoned off following a bird flu scare, the administration today said it is also keeping a watch on migratory birds near the water body even as it assured that there was no outbreak of the disease in the city.

"We are keeping a watch on the migratory birds which annually come at Sukhna Lake," UT Conservator of Forests-cum-Chief Wildlife Warden Santosh Kumar said.

Migratory birds including Pochard, Coot, Pintail, Mallard come from Siberia, China and other parts of the world during November and December and they stay till March, he said.

However, Kumar said so far, there was no mortality found in the migratory birds.

UT Chandigarh Animal Husbandry Department Joint Director Lovelesh Kant Gupta, meanwhile, said there was no need to panic as there was no outbreak of bird flu in the city.

"There is a suspicion of bird flu...It is not an outbreak. Had there been an outbreak, then migratory birds would also have died," he said.

Union Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairying had yesterday notified bird flu in geese under the Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, Gupta said.

"Culling of geese was done as part of preventive measures," he added.

After a sample of geese from the Sukhna lake tested positive for bird flu, authorities yesterday culled a total of 110 geese on the island in the middle of the lake, Kumar said.

The killings were carried out as a precautionary measure to prevent any outbreak of bird flu in the city and adjoining areas.

Besides, the authorities also restricted the movement of public around the Sukhna Lake, a famous tourist spot here, and have sounded alert in Punjab and Haryana in this regard.

With authorities keeping surveillance in and around the lake, UT Chandigarh authorities have said the entire lake will remain out of bounds for people till further orders.

Meanwhile, a team from National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory will take a sample of Sukhna lake water to rule out infection, according to Kumar.

Yesterday, the state-run Central Poultry Development Organisation had halted all supplies of eggs and birds as a precautionary measure.

Nearly 35 geese had died at the lake recently under mysterious circumstances. The Chandigarh administration sounded an alert after it was confirmed that one of the ducks had died of H5N1.