Pong Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary opens for visitors after bird flu outbreak

Epidemic killed 5,006 birds

Pong Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary opens for visitors after bird flu outbreak

The Pong Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary opened for visitors and tourists on Tuesday. Tribune photo.

Rajiv Mahajan
Nurpur, February 23

The Pong Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary opened for visitors and tourists on Tuesday after authorities managed to successfully control the Avian Influenza (H5N1) outbreak that has claimed the lives of thousands of exotic migratory birds during the past two months. 

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, Archana Sharma, who issued an office order for opening the Pong Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday, told The Tribune that no bird mortality had been reported from the sanctuary area since the past seven to ten days. 

She said that the bird flu epidemic phase was over and 5,006 birds had died of the disease.  

After the sudden outbreak of Avian Influenza in December-end, the Kangra district administration in its order under the Disaster Management Act-2005 had restricted the movement of human and domestic livestock around the one-kilometre periphery of the Pong Wetland, declaring it an alter zone. 

It had also prohibited catching fish in the wetland, sale or purchase of poultry products, fish and meat within the area of jurisdiction of Dehra, Jawali, Fatehpur and Indora subdivisions in Kangra district. 

The district administration had revoked these bans in a phased manner. The poultry products allied non-vegetarian food ban was lifted on January 28 and after reviewing the mortality status of the migratory birds it also lifted the ban on fishing in the Pong Wetland on February 9.   

The Pong Wetland was declared a Wildlife Sanctuary by the Himachal Pradesh government in 1983 and the Government of India had declared it a Wetland of National Importance. 

 

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