Concerned over the spate of crow deaths around Jharkhand, the state animal husbandry department has asked district officials to be vigilant and take concrete steps to arrest the phenomenon.
Department director A.G. Bandopadhyay said officials have been directed to keep pots of medicated water and food grains at places from where crow deaths have been reported. He also asked residents not to touch the dead crows and inform the animal husbandry department if they spot a carcass.
“In the state capital, we will be keeping medicated water in pots at places like St Albert College, Nagri and Kanke. District animal husbandry officers have been asked to do the same in their respective areas,” said Bandopadhyay.
Crow deaths, suspected to be due to avian flu, were first reported from Jamshedpur around two weeks ago. Over the last 10 days, crow deaths in large numbers have been reported from Khunti, Bokaro and Hazaribagh. In Ranchi, dead crows were spotted at St Albert College two days ago. Well over 20 crows died at the college campus over the last two days, and dead crows have been reported from Kanke too.
“From Bokaro, we have received information of about 30 crows dying in the last three-four days. We have kept medicated water in pots at different places around the city,” said Bokaro district animal husbandry officer Krishna Choudhary.
Two days ago in the state capital, a team of animal husbandry department officials including Bandopadhyay visited St Albert College campus. The blood samples collected from dead crows were sent to Livestock Research Station in Kanke, which has forwarded them to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal for further tests.
“We are yet to get the report of the test. It is only when the report comes that we will be able to tell the exact reason behind the deaths,” said Dr Shyam Sunder Baitha, Ranchi district animal husbandry officer.
A team of experts from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly has already visited Jamshedpur and collected samples for tests.
“The IVRI findings will first go to the government of India and then come to us. We are yet to get the findings. However, it appears to be some kind of a virus that is killing the crows. The need of the hour is to contain the virus from spreading to domesticated birds,” said Bandopadhyay.
He refused to speculate if bird flu was the reason behind the crow deaths.
The animal husbandry director said he had asked his district officers to be alert.
“Domesticated bird keepers too should inform us if they see any of their birds dying of this virus,” Bandopadhyay said.