20 migratory birds found dead in Dharamsala

20 migratory birds found dead in DharamsalaDharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Jan. 25 : Forest Department authorities in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, have found the carcasses of about twenty migratory birds.

The dead birds included 18 Bar-headed Goose and two Ruddy Shell Ducks that had flocked around the Pong Dam for their winter break.

While the specific reasons for their death are yet to be ascertained, the concerned authorities of Wildlife and Veterinary Department suspect that either it is a case of bird-flu or poisoning.

"We have conducted post-mortem of all these birds. Since the number was high we had to take two samples. We suspect that it might be poisoning or it might be a case of bird flu as well," said Sameer Rastogi, Conservator of Wildlife, Himachal Pradesh.

The authorities have lodged a police complaint and even registered a First Information Report (FIR) at the Pong Dam police station.

A large number of avian visitors take their flight to the Dharamshala every season as temperatures dip and snow falls.

As per the counting, till January 7, over 1, 14,000 birds of 74 different species have come to Dharamshala here this year.

Bird ''flu had affected some parts of India, particularly in the north east region, but there were no reports from Himachal Pradesh.

India has culled millions of poultry birds (chicken and ducks) to contain the virus since its first outbreak was reported in 2006.

Fortunately, there were no cases of human infections.

Experts have warned that the H5N1 virus might mutate or combine with the highly contagious seasonal influenza virus and spark an epidemic that could kill millions of people across the world.

Although the virus does not infect humans easily, it continues to pop up in flocks of birds. And the worst affected regions around the world are located in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and on mutation, it could pass from one person to another.

According to the World Health Organization, H5N1 bird flu has infected more than 390 people in 15 countries and killed at least 247 of them since the virus resurfaced in Asia in 2003. (ANI)