Chandigarh, January 18
In the wake of bird flu outbreak in West Bengal, UT forest/wildlife department has intensified surveillance of migratory birds in and around the city. Under the forest guards' scanner these days is the 10,000-strong migratory bird population at Sukhna Lake and another about 500 birds that have flocked to Patiala ki Rao water body in the Dhanas area.

Additional forest staff has been posted at both the locations to monitor the birds twice in a day. Although both the UT animal husbandry and forest department said that right now there was no cause for alarm at all, they added that precautions needed to be taken. While Sukhna Lake is under intensive surveillance of two forest guards all day long, we have staff for the forest lake at Dhanas as well, said Ishwar Singh, chief wildlife warden, UT.

Last year 10 migratory birds from Sukhna had died of an unknown infection. It was, however, not the H5N1 virus, regional disease diagnostic lab at Jalandhar had confirmed. This year the forest department is taking no chances. "We are looking out for these signs in the birds - isolation, drooping neck and eye secretions. Right now there is no problem," said Singh.

Meanwhile, the animal husbandry department has been sampling the 6000-strong poultry population on a fortnightly basis. Samples are being sent to Jalandhar for regular checks.

Source: Tribune News Service