- Avian behaviour monitored hourly
- Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary remains open
- Disinfectant palate created to step into while entering the boating area
Srirangapatna/Mysuru: Close to the heels of outbreak of bird flu in Kerala, the Karnataka Forest Department has sounded high alert in its bird sanctuaries and water bodies under its limits and also of those under various departments / institutions and has taken preventive steps to check its spreading.
“As of now, there is no need to be panic as the situation is very much under control. The decision on closing Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna taluk of Mandya district will be taken only if winged visitors test positive for bird flu,” clarified Dr. K.C. Prashanth Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF), Territorial Division, Mysuru.
Speaking to Star of Mysore after inspecting arrangements at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary this morning, he said all necessary steps had been taken to check the outbreak of bird flu. Precautionary steps such as sanitising, spraying disinfectants, keeping constant watch on migratory birds, not only in the sanctuary but also in garden and surrounding fields, are being undertaken, the DCF said and added that staff of the sanctuary have been trained to handle dead birds, collect the viscera and send samples to laboratories in Mysuru and Bengaluru. In case any bird tests positive for bird flu, then the carcass will be sent to Bhopal Laboratory for further test.
Explaining about the steps initiated, the DCF said a tight vigilance is kept on water bodies like Lingambudhi, Hebbal, Karanji and Kukkarahalli Lakes, Thippayyanakere and Hadinaarukere in Mysuru city, besides Ranganathittu and Kokkarebellur in Mandya district, following the arrival of migratory birds.
Forest Department staff have been put on the job of observing the behaviour of birds every hour and alert higher-ups in case of unusual behaviour or symptoms of illness noticed in birds. The bird flu will not only affect the migratory birds but will also affect domesticated birds. Villagers have been requested to share information with the Forest Department in case they come across carcass of birds in fields or unnatural deaths of chicken, the DCF added.
Dr. Prashanth Kumar said that there are 16 islands within Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary and the staff members were regularly monitoring the birds in those places every one hour.
The staff members have been given binoculars to keep a watch on the migratory birds and have been instructed to patrol all the islands in a boat at regular intervals.
Range Forest Officer (RFO) Surendra, Wildlife Wing, Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary, said that disinfectants are regularly sprayed in the entire area and every tourist has to enter the bird area after dipping their legs in a step-in disinfectant pallet. Officers of Forest and Animal Husbandry are closely monitoring the situation. Each and every equipment is disinfected before use by the staff. The migratory birds which are susceptible to bird flu are pelicans, painted stork and spoonbills, he added.
Meanwhile, Shivalingegowda, Assistant Director, Department of Animal Husbandry said the bird sanctuary has so far not reported any bird flu case. In case of unnatural death of any bird, the staff must wear face mask and hand gloves to put the dead bird inside polythene cover and send it to Mysuru laboratory for testing.