With eight more birds succumbing to avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, authorities have shut down Delhi Zoo and city’s infamous Deer Park and warned people not to touch any dead bird.
Deaths of two more birds each were reported in Delhi Zoo and Deer Park while three dead birds were spotted in Sundar Nagar, near the zoo, and one in Tughlakabad in the city's deep south.
“… There have been 12 deaths in the (Delhi) Zoo, and five ducks in Deer Park lake and three crows in Sundar Nagar have died from suspected H5 avian influenza. So far, three samples have tested positive for bird flu while the results of the other tests are pending,” a senior Delhi government official said.
Since last week, 20 migratory birds have been found dead in the national capital.
Delhi's Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai said that the government was trying best to control the situation before it worsens.
He also made an appeal to the citizens to not to touch any dead bird and to instead inform the Animal Husbandry Department on the Helpline (011-2389 0318).
“For now, citizens need not worry and just be careful and alert. Reports of dead birds have come from various areas including Sundar Nagar, Tughlakabad and Deer Park. Deer Park has been closed for reasons of safety,” he said.
Both the Delhi Zoo and the Deer Park will remain shut until normalcy returns, he informed.
The Delhi government has set up a 23-member committee, headed by Development Commissioner Sandeep Kumar, to coordinate work among various departments and to probe the reasons behind the bird deaths since last week.
The committee members will today also visit Gazipur chicken mandi to take samples.
Also all leave officials in the concerned departments have been cancelled.
The first deaths of two migratory birds were reported on October 14 in the Delhi Zoo, where six more birds were found dead the next day. One more bird each died on October 17 and 19.