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Wildlife and bird experts today advised against any panic in the wake death of birds at Delhi zoo, saying chances of the H5 avian influenza spreading among exotic migratory birds was very less.
Chances of the virus affecting humans at this point was not even a distant possibility, experts said. They also pointed out the absence of mass mortality among birds, which are seen in case of flu outbreaks.
"Saying the birds were migratory would be misleading. There are local migratory birds as well, as not all of them come from places like Siberia. And those species have not started coming yet. It's just the beginning of the migratory season," wildlife biologist Dr. Faiyaz A. Khudsar said.
Dr Khudsar, who is the lead scientist at the Yamuna Biodiversity Park, said the H5 avian influenza, which largely hits poultry, does not usually affect humans. Chances of infection come further down when poultry meat is properly cooked at or above 70 degrees Celsius, he said.
Noted ecologist Prof CR Babu echoed Dr Khudsar's views, saying there have been no reports of large flocks of migratory birds landing as of now.
"The October temperature is also warmer than usual. And there should also be a differentiation between exotic migratory birds and resident migratory birds. There is no reason to panic," he said.
Bird watcher Anand Arya, however, said the situation can be problematic in case the birds that have died are of exotic species, as birds from the similar source could have landed in wetlands across India. Birds also cohabit during the migration season, he said.
"The first landing point of these birds is usually Himachal Pradesh's Pong dam. Then they gradually come down to warmer areas as the temperature falls in the upper reaches. So infections can spread but it is early to say," Arya said.