Alert sounded in J&K over bird flu

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JAMMU: As neighbouring Himachal Pradesh reported cases of bird flu, Jammu and Kashmir has sounded an alert and started collecting samples to check the health of the winged guests flocking the Union territory during winters, officials said.

The joint teams of Animal Husbandry and Wildlife Departments on Tuesday visited Gharana wetland in the outskirts of Jammu and collected 25 bird droppings for testing to ascertain whether any of the birds was infected with the dreaded avian influenza, the officials said.

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“The J&K Government has sounded an alert following reports of bird flu cases in Himachal Pradesh and issued certain guidelines as a precautionary measure,” Wildlife Warden, Jammu, Anil Atri said.

Atri, who along with Dr Ranjit Katoch of the Wildlife Department joined the Animal Husbandry team at Gharana wetland, said all the birds present in the wetland looked healthy.

The Gharana Wetland Conservation Reserve in the RS Pura sector near the International Border was notified in 1981.