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Bird flu alert: Wildlife dept stops poultry feed to carnivores in Kashmir

Srinagar: Wary about bird flu, the wildlife department has stopped poultry feed to all carnivores in a bid to prevent the spread of avian influenza in zoos and animal rescue centers across Kashmir.

Wild lifers have switched over to mutton feed at Pahalgam mini zoo and animal rescue center, Srinagar. This followed the advisory from the central government to monitor animal behavior.

 

“Advisory has three parts. We have to monitor animal behavior. We have to avoid bird feed like chicken to carnivores. Plus all rescue workers have to wear PP suits. All animal centers are on the alert and we are following the guidelines in toto,” said Altaf Hussain, Wildlife Warden, Srinagar.

There are three leopards currently housed at the animal rescue center Srinagar. Plus there are four black bears and one brown bear in the center. 

“We have stopped chicken feed to the leopards. Bears are not being fed animal products. But we are monitoring their behavior. In case we find that they are staggering or not taking feed properly then we will go for testing,” said Altaf.

Patrolling teams have been specially directed to keep watch on bird deaths so that appropriate measures could be taken to prevent any spread of infection. 

“Our field staff has also been directed to remain vigilant. They have been asked to keep watch on unusual bird deaths or abnormal animal behavior in the field,” said Altaf.

Likewise, zookeepers have stopped bird and chicken feed to the animals at Pahalgam Mini Zoo. “Veterinarians had prescribed chicken for carnivores once a week. Now after the advisory, we have stopped the poultry feed,” said Rouf Ahmad, Wildlife Warden, South Kashmir.

There are two leopards, two leopard cats, two black bears, one brown bear, and one snow leopard in the Pahalgam Mini Zoo. “Unlike other zoos, we do not have birds in captivity. But despite that, we are keeping a close watch on animals. Our veterinary staff is monitoring the animals for unusual behavior in the zoo,” said Rouf.