The Gharana Wetland along the international border in RS Pura sector of Jammu district that attracts migratory birds in large numbers, has been put under round-the-clock monitoring in the aftermath of the outbreak of avian influenza at Pong Dam in Himachal’s Kangra district.

The ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease has confirmed the H5N1 virus as the cause of the fatalities among the migratory birds in Pong Dam.

Jammu’s wildlife warden Anil Atri said, “Thousands of migratory birds from various countries flock to Gharana Wetland and following the birds’ deaths in Kangra, the teams of animal husbandry department collected 25 droppings samples that have been sent to Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar for testing.”

“The reports are awaited but as such there are no symptoms of avian flu in the migratory birds at Gharana so far. There is no sluggishness among birds and we are monitoring them 24×7 via ocular surveillance,” he said.

He said that the number of migratory birds at the wetland could be 2,000 to 2,500.

“While field staff has been issued instructions to constantly monitor them and isolate those found to be sluggish or having symptoms of avian flu, people in the surrounding villages have also been asked not to touch any dead bird and immediately inform us,” he said.

Atri said that an alert has been sounded.


Meanwhile, five to eight birds were found dead in the Panj Peer area of Rajouri on Wednesday.

Rajouri district commissioner Nazir Sheikh said, “The department concerned has been directed to look into it. Their samples have been collected and are being tested.”

Meanwhile, over 150 crows were found dead on Dhar Road near Kendriya Vidyalaya in the Udhampur district on Thursday morning creating panic among people.

However, a senior official said that prima facie the birds appeared to have died of intense cold.

“We have sent their samples for testing outside J&K and the exact cause will be known once we get their reports,” he said.

Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve in the R S Pura sector near the International Border was notified in 1981 and is home to more than 170 species of birds like bar-headed geese, gadwalls, common teals, purple swamp hens, Indian moorhens, black-winged stilts, cormorants, egrets, and greenshanks.

During the winter, the wetland is visited by thousands of birds from Central Asia and some of the migratory bird species visiting this wetland are endangered.

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