scorecardresearch
Follow Us:
Thursday, December 02, 2021

Tamil Nadu: 10 ostriches die of unknown disease in Vandalur zoo, authorities keep watch on other birds

The zoo officials have identified that the infected birds show symptoms of weakness and do not have much movement and start sitting on the ground for a long time before finally collapsing.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
Updated: November 6, 2021 9:19:01 am
Tamil Nadu, Vandalur, Vandalur zoo, Ostriches, Indian express, Indian express news, Chennai news, Tamil Nadu newsSpeaking to indianexpress.com Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden Dr Shekar Kumar Niraj said they are yet to ascertain the reason behind the sudden deaths of the ostriches. (Representational)

After 10 ostriches died at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) near Tamil Nadu’s Vandalur in less than a week with the cause of death yet to be known, the authorities have now stepped-up surveillance of other birds.

A press release from AAZP said five of the ostriches died on October 27 and the rest in the subsequent days. Specimens were collected for histopathology, bacteriology, virology, and toxicology analysis. From the ailing birds, Tracheal swab, Cloacal swab, serum and blood were collected.

“Based on the previous mortality and necropsy investigations, the possibility of feed toxicity (fungal toxins and pesticides, water toxicity nitrates and nitrites), common bacterial infections of ostriches (fowl cholera, Anthrax) and Newcastle Disease were ruled out,” the officials said.

AAZP director V Karunapriya said there were about 39 ostriches and 10 have succumbed due to an unidentified disease.

Speaking to indianexpress.com Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden Dr Shekar Kumar Niraj said they are yet to ascertain the reason behind the sudden deaths of the ostriches.

“We have got the samples tested by the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal. They have said there is no toxicity and even Covid-19 is ruled out. A zoological park in Hyderabad had lost one ostrich a few months back and we have checked in the US too but haven’t come across anything like this. We are trying to find out whether zoological parks in Africa and other places have come across anything like this. We are also holding talks with other leading scientists from here and in other countries as well. It seems to us that a virus very specific to ostriches has affected them. We have now segregated the remaining population into small groups in five separate enclosures,” he said.

Further, Shekhar said they have identified that the infected birds show symptoms of weakness and do not have much movement and start sitting on the ground for a long time before finally collapsing. He said the post-mortem results showed that the birds had pneumonia but they suspect it might have happened after the birds were infected.

The zoo authorities have now formed a seven-member expert committee to investigate the deaths. The committee led by Dr C Soundararajan, the director of Central for Animal Health Studies, TANUVAS, will recommend appropriate disinfection, prevention and control measures. A three-member visiting team has also been formed to provide suggestions and appropriate treatment.

The experts have told the authorities to maintain strict biosecurity measures.

“The workers should be allowed to enter through disinfectant (chlorine dioxide) channels before entering the ostrich enclosures. The personnel taking care of the birds should wear PPEs and they should not visit or take care of other birds,” the advisory read.

The officials also recommended that the ailing birds may be treated in a shed with a roof to ensure they are not stressed by rain or the heat.

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Chennai News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement