Sultanpur National Park closed over bird flu scare

The Sultanpur National Park in Gurugram has been shut in view of the bird flu outbreak in some parts of the country and smog, officials said on Monday.

The park authorities claimed that no case of bird flu has been reported in the park till now and it was shut down as a precautionary measure.

The authorities, being assisted by experts from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), are keeping a close watch on the movement of migratory and other birds, an official said.

This is the second time in recent years that the Sultanpur sanctuary has been closed due to avian flu.

The park was closed for a week in January 2015 following the death of four dozen birds, mostly Eurasian coots due to avian flu.

Located on Gurugram-Farukhnagar Road, the park is home to around 250 species of birds, both resident and migratory. The birds come to the park from as far off as Europe, Siberia and Central Asia.

According to forest officials, currently there are over 11,000 birds in the park.

“We are keeping a close watch on the movement of avian guests to prevent an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1), commonly known as bird flu,” said Shyam Sunder Kaushik, District Forest Officer (Wildlife).

The wildlife officials, however, have not confirmed any bird death at the park so far, though some sources said a few birds have died in the park leading to the decision to close the sanctuary for at least a week.