The animal husbandry department of Jamnagar district swung into action after 41 birds died in a local pond of Keshiya village in Jodiya taluka district. Suspecting bird flu, the department has sent samples of the dead birds to Bhopal for testing. The department took immediate action after receiving the report on Monday afternoon. Department officers soon rushed to the spot, fished out the bodies, packed seven of them in laboratory kits while disposing others in a scientific manner. Officials said that 24 spot-billed ducks, 12 bar-tailed godwit, one common teal, two red-wattled lapwing and two pigeons died within 12 hours in the pond.
“Given the fears of bird flu in the state and the fact that the birds died within a few hours, we approached the incident as if it were a case of bird flu. We have sent a man to deliver samples at High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and results are expected by Saturday. We have sanitised area falling within one kilometre radius of the pond but to no other dead birds were found. Nor any further deaths were reported on Tuesday,” said Bhagirath Patel, assistant director of animal husbandry of Jamnagar told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in Hathijan village near Ahmedabad and hundreds of birds have been culled in an attempt to contain the spread of avian flu. Patel said they were keeping a close watch over the area. “We have asked villagers not to draw water from the pond or take their cattle to the pond. We have also reported the matter to district authorities and state animal husbandry department,” said Patel.
While spot-billed ducks and common teals are duck species, bar-tailed godwit is a wader. “There are no poultry farms in Keshiya of nearby villages. But there are around 1000 backyard poultry units in 10 km radius of Keshiya village. These birds will be put under surveillance if the samples test positive for bird flu. We are also not taking any chance as the spot is not very far away from Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary near Jamnagar,” Patel added.
He further said they will also check if the birds died due to some pollution. “The pond is filled up only 30 per cent. While we are waiting for the resulTs from the HSADL, Bhopal we shall also see if there is any contamination in the water of the pond,” said the assistant director.