Water bird
Eight birds died within 24 hours at the zoo in Gwalior due to the H1N1 virus. Their samples have been sent to Jabalpur Veterinary University for research. [Representational image]Reuters

At least 15 painted storks died at the Gwalior Zoo forcing the authorities to shut doors for tourists for a few days fearing the spread of bird flu. The Deer Park in Delhi has also been shut and tourists have been asked to not touch any dead bird.

Eight birds died within 24 hours at the zoo in Gwalior due to the H5N1 virus. Their samples have been sent to Jabalpur Veterinary University for research.

Neighbouring states and locations that witness migratory birds have been put on alert after eight more birds died due to bird flu in Delhi taking the toll to 18.

Two birds each died at the Delhi Zoo and the Deer Park. Three died in Sundar Nagar, while one died in Tughlakabad in south Delhi, senior officials said.

"Concern is growing as death of migratory birds is being reported from different locations. Symptoms indicate that virus was behind the death of 15 migratory birds in Gwalior. Coordinated efforts will be taken to control the situation," a senior official from the environment ministry was quoted by India Today as saying. 

Decisions will be taken only after a few days of observation and receiving reports from the Jalandhar laboratory.

"We have asked to take precaution at Ghazipur chicken mandi and MCD will ensure proper disposal of the waste. We are trying to control the situation before it gets bad. For now, citizens need not worry and just be careful and alert... I appeal to the citizens not to touch any dead bird and inform the animal husbandry department on the helpline," Delhi's Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai told the channel.

Rai, who will visit the Deer Park on Friday around 2 pm, added that around 50 samples from the zoo, poultry markets and other bird sanctuaries in the capital have been sent to laboratories for analysis. 

Rai further added that he would urge the neighbouring states to take appropriate steps and coordinated with the Delhi government to restrict the epidemic.

Development Commissioner Sandeep Kumar will be heading the 23-member committee set up by the Delhi government to investigate the death of the birds and distribute work among the several departments. 

Citizens who wish to report bird flu deaths or seek any other help can call on the Delhi government's helpline number 011-23890318.