The Wildlife Wing of the State Government on Saturday said there is no reason to panic after avian influenza was reported from a migratory bird that had visited the Chilika lagoon.
Chief Wildlife Warden JD Sharma said, a watch has been kept in Nalabana Bird Sanctuary but so far no bird casualty has been noticed nor reported. “Most birds have turned homewards after their winter sojourn but we will send another set of samples soon to ascertain if the flu is identified in others,” he told this paper.
The Chilika Wildlife Division also chipped in with an advisory appealing to people not to eat dead birds and return the carcass either to local police or forest offices. The division employed its personnel to carry out intensive search in the bird sanctuary for two consecutive days but found no dead birds.
However, the Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services shot off a letter to the Khurda Chief veterinary Officer asking the latter to take precautionary measures in view of the report.
The avian influenza matter though remained confusing since no full-fledged report was received by the Chilika Wildlife Division from the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, where the samples were sent last month. All that the division received was a letter from Khurda collectorate that said bird flu has been reported in a Pintail.
On January 21, samples had been collected from two Ruddy Shelducks, Eurasian Wigeons, Gadwals as well one Northern Pintail and Shoveller. The Pintail had been ringed with a number F 70699 and so far the ring has not been returned either.
Three different samples - oro-pharyngeal, cloacal and blood serum - were collected from the eight birds. It was not known which samples threw up the avian influenza.
Meanwhile, the Chilika Wildlife Division will collect more samples in the next couple of days and send them for fresh tests.