New Delhi zoo forced to close as bird flu kills storks, ducks and pelicans

New Delhi’s zoo has been closed temporarily after nine birds died from suspected bird flu. It was shut once post-mortem examnations conducted on the birds confirmed that at least two of them died from H5N1 avian influenza. “We decided to close the zoo for a few days as a precautionary measure,” said Riaz Ahmed Khan, the National Zoological Park’s curator. Staff were reportedly being given vaccinations but the zoo was expected to reopen on Thursday.

We have shut the zoo down only for two to four days to conduct tests and monitor the situation to see it does not spread

Zoo curator Riaz Khan

The zoo, one of the largest in India, has some 1,400 animals, reptiles and birds belonging to about 130 species. The birds, including ducks, painted storks and two pelicans, died on Friday and Saturday. The closure comes a month after India announced the country was bird flu-free, saying there had been no outbreaks since May when more than 100,000 chickens had to be culled in southern Karnataka state. The zoo was in the spotlight in May after 46 spotted deer reportedly died of rabies.