Delhi Zoo Records 500 Painted Stork Births

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New Delhi: Amid the bird flu scare, the Delhi zoo has recorded more than 500 births of local migratory ‘painted stork’ this breeding season.

“We generally receive a batch of 800-1,000 painted storks every year. The zoo has always recorded impressive painted stork births. We have counted more than 500 eggs this season and the figure will climb up in the next few days,” zoo curator Riyaz Khan said.

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The zoo is reeling under bird flu scare after 20 birds, including caged ones like munia, grey partridge and ringneck parrots died in the last few months. The death of 13 water birds, including painted storks, ducks and rosy pelicans have been confirmed as H5N8 avian influenza casualty.

There were reports that the zoo authority has stopped arranging food for the migratory birds that flock it from abroad for fear of spread of infection.

“Yes, we have not arranged food for the exotic birds this time as we do not want them to descend here and mingle with the local migratory birds,” Khan said. He said the local birds feed on fish whereas those from abroad eat insects.

The zoo, which has been closed for more than a month now, is using the time for working on its Master Plan 2031.

“Our work continues sans visitors. The garden is being renovated. We are also completing a few pending constructions,” the official said.

Khan said that the zoo’s winter plan for animals is also being implemented.

“We have installed heaters. Wooden platforms are being set up for carnivorous animals. Paddy straws have been brought for chimpanzees and deer,” he said.

On the winter dietary plans, he said, “All the animals are being given 50 grams of gooseberry (Amla) every day as a vitamin supplement. The meat intake has been increased to 1-2 kgs. Animals like chimpanzees are given bread pieces dipped in honey to keep them warm. Seasonal fruits have also been included in the diet of inmates.

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