The birds affected by the outbreak of the H5N1 virus were peacocks Image Credit: Pixabay

Patna: The Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, the prominent zoological garden located in Patna, has been closed for an indefinite period after outbreak of the H5N1 virus which left six peacocks dead. The park which is located in the capital city of Bihar is home to more than 800 animals of about 110 species, including some endangered species.

Authorities shut the zoo on Tuesday soon after tests conducted at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal confirmed the birds died after being infected with the deadly H5N1 virus.

Peacocks died in a period of one week, prompting the authorities to launch preventive measures before the virus could infect more birds and animals. Authorities said the zoo would remain closed till it is completely sanitized.

“The process of immunisation and disinfection is on and the zoo will be reopened for visitors only after it is confirmed the zoo is free from virus,” Patna zoo deputy director RK Sinha told the media on Tuesday. He added the preventive measures like anti-viral spray had been launched while technical experts of animal and fisheries resources had been also engaged to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.

The Patna zoo also boasts of an aquarium which is the largest revenue generator after the general admission fee. The aquarium has about 35 species of fish, and the snake house has 32 snakes belonging to 5 species. Besides, this zoological park also has more than 300 species of trees, herbs and shrubs.

Authorities have already launched culling of birds in Munger, an eastern Bihar district which also reported outbreak of the deadly H5N1, leading to deaths of scores of birds. The culling was started in four villages of the district and a central team was also rushed to areas for necessary action. Officials said the cullings were carried out within once kilometre radius of these villages.

The closure of Patna zoo just ahead of the arrival of new year has come as a huge setback to the local residents who were planning to enjoys picnics there. Thousands of picnickers have been visiting every year on this occasion to celebrate the new year in style but now that the park has been closed for indefinite period, the pressure will be on other parks. Apart from them, hundreds of residents had been visiting there every day for morning stroll.