Bird flu scare lingers; carcass found
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 12: Close of the heels of recovery of a carcass at Barak area in Tamenglong district, a wild life team today detected remains of a cormorant bird species locally known as Ura in the periphery of Keibul Lamjao National Park.

Following the recovery of the latest carcass State's chief Wildlife Warden A Kharsi Ing has cautioned the people to keep a safe distance from migratory birds considered main cause for bird flu disease emanating from south east Asia.

The said carcass was found near a pisciculture farm site in the periphery of the National park when an official team led by the Chief Wildlife Warden of State's forest and Environment, Deputy Conservator of forest L Muhindro, Range forest Officer Th Bimol and I Gopen of Keibul Range Office accompanied by mediapersons visited the national Park and Loktak Lake area today as part of an inspection and prevention campaign against the bird flu endemic.

The Keibul Lamjao national Park and the largest fresh water lake in North East India is a habitat of several migratory bird species particularly during the winter season.

The cormorant bird species had been confirmed as carrier of avian influenza virus that spread from Chinese provinces and had led to some human casualties.

The carcass was found close to the fish farm at Narambung belonging to one Ibohal.

As per comments from fish rearers near the site Cormorant birds flock to the National Park area annually and this year the same species numbering around 100-200 arrived about two weeks ago.

The carcass found today is the third detected in the area in recent times, they informed.

On detecting the carcass the Chief Warden A Kharsi Ing told media persons that settlers in and around the National park should desist from killing migratory birds and to keep a safe distance.

He also informed that today's investigation visit was carried out following instructions from Central Government authorities as part of the preventive measures to contain outbreak of avian influenza that had endangered human life in some part of the south east Asian countries.

Wildlife experts informed the media team that the carcass weighs around 2.5 kgs, might have expired some 4/5 days back and was found in a highly decomposed state.

The carcass would be referred to veterinarians for further study to ascertain cause of death, the media team was informed.

To a question whether further investigations would be conducted, Kharsi Ing conveyed of all the DFOs being instructed to stay on the alert and report any suspect case.

When ornithologist W Rajesh was contacted for inputs on the viral scare, he recalled of the bird flu case documented for the first time in 1878 in Italy and recent instances of viral spread from birds reported from Qinghai Nature Lake Reserve.

There had been report of nearly 6000 geese and cormorant bird species' death in the Qinghai sanctuary prompting emergency congregation of Indian ornithologists at Orissa wherein the experts were of the view that precautionary measures is of utmost necessity to check bird flu spread especially by the cormorant species.

Stating that migratory birds usually flocks to the State water sources from China, Europe, Siberian region and Kazakhstan, Rajesh said previously bird experts presumed that migratory birds were not carriers of avian influenza viruses.

Avian influenza viruses causes two types of diseases classified as 'mild and 'highly pathogenic, he said while warning that only means of protection from the viral disease is abstention from contact and consuming the bird meat.

A single dropping from an infected bird could affect nearly a million birds, Rajesh maintained and informed bird flu infection symptoms as fever and breathing problem.

The young ornithologist also expressed that detection of 2/3 carcasses in such a short period need serious attention and appropriate preventive measures.

The investigation team also advised Phubala and Keibul Lamjao residents to avoid contact with migratory birds.