The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bird flu test for winged guests

New Delhi, Aug. 12: This year, the reception is likely to be a little different for migratory birds which start arriving in the country this month.

The Centre has decided that the winged visitors will have to undergo tests this year, especially in the Northeast.

The ministry of environment and forests has asked the chief wildlife wardens of all the states to monitor any possible emergency arising out of the arrival of migratory birds following the outbreak of avian influenza in Manipur.

Migratory birds from China, Siberia and eastern Europe visit the Indian plains during winters, but many birds arrive early in August.

“The number and species of birds, the approximate period of arrival and stay should be reported to the ministry,” a statement issued by the Centre said.

The Centre has issued guidelines to all the chief wildlife wardens to co-ordinate with the ministry of health, department of animal husbandry and other departments. The wardens have also been instructed to ensure that the birds are not harmed during the trapping and collection of serum samples.

All wild bird samples will be considered valuable and hence collection of samples, packing and transport will be done in collaboration with trained animal husbandry and veterinary staff.

Sources added that local NGOs and ornithologists would be asked to help.

The Centre has also asked volunteers and bird watchers to report the death of any bird to the nearest forest or animal husbandry office.

Thousands of poultry birds were culled in Manipur and other northeastern states in the past few weeks following the outbreak of bird flu.

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