In the beginning of the year 2021, Bird Flu was confirmed among the migratory water birds at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, Himachal Pradesh. The disease then killed more than 5000 birds. It was contained in February 2021. However, it has resurfaced since late March.
With the Second Wave of Bird Flu, around 99 birds recently were found dead at Pong Dam Lake. The officials of National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases have confirmed that the death of birds is due to the presence of H5N8 Avian Influenza. However, this strain is different from the previous outbreak. Previously the outbreak was due to H5N1. The bird fatalities are higher during days of adverse weather as it is when the geese tend to flock together instead of flying out.
About Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
- It is an international Ramsar site. It extends up to 220 square km during wet season.
- It becomes home to flocks of migratory waterfowl every winter.
- Several birds migrate here as the wetlands in Europe, North and Central Asia become frozen during winter.
- More than 1 lakh migratory water birds of different species arrive at the lake. This includes 40000 bar-headed geese as well.
- The bird flu has been reported in the state are Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and UP in the recent days. The two main virus types causing the recent outbreaks are H5N1 and H5N8. They belong to the category of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.
- The Government of India issued an alert to the states to stick to the National Action Plan for Prevention, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza.
- The HPAI outbreaks have been identified in other countries such as Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Russia. This has led to a loss of more than 4.8 million (48 lakh) birds by December 2020.
Second Wave of Bird Flu in Himachal Pradesh Second Wave of Bird Flu in Himachal Pradesh