Bird flu: Jaipur Zoo shut down after rare stork dies

By Express News Service
JAIPUR: The Jaipur Zoo has been shut down indefinitely after the deaths of a rare black stork and three common ducks on Monday. The deaths add fuel to the fear of bird flu, which has till date claimed the lives of 3,000 birds across 15 of the 33 districts in Rajasthan.

Sources said that the Jaipur Zoo was being sanitized as officials said that besides the four deaths, several birds were sick. Samples have been sent to Bhopal for test to identify the exact cause of deaths. Medical tests are being conducted on all birds in the zoo.

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A fortnight ago, several crows that had died in Jaipur were found to be infected. Given the fear of bird flu, authorities have started spraying sodium hypochlorate in a bid to preventing the spread.Chief Wildlife Warden Mohanlal Meena said, “After the four birds were found dead on Monday, the zoo was sanitised and closed. Samples of bird carcasses from 15 districts have been sent to a Bhopal lab for tests.”

Bird flu or avian influenza has already been confirmed in 15 of the 33 districts, including Jaipur, Dausa, Sawai Madhopur, Hanumangarh, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Chittorgarh, Pali, Baran, Kota, Banswara, Sirohi, and Pratapgarh. On Monday, bird flu was confirmed in Tonk and Karauli.

In Rajasthan, around 400 birds, besides the 2,600 crows, have fallen prey to the flu. The list includes 190 peacocks and 195 pigeons. In view of the threat of bird flu, the Rajasthan government has cancelled the holidays of all employees working at animal parks and bird sanctuaries. The condition at the bird sanctuary in Bharatpur district is under control. Most water points and wetlands are still protected from the scourge. No bird deaths has been reported from the sanctuary.