The park authorities also brought the bird’s enclosure under medical surveillance and experts from Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, (Tanuvas) have been roped in for treating the sick flightless birds.
“Samples for virology and toxicology examination have been collected from the dead birds. Zoo officials are trying to ascertain the cause of death,” additional principal chief conservator of forests and park director V Karunapriya said in a statement. Fowl cholera has been ruled out after blood smear and organ impression were examined by zoo veterinarians. Pointing out that the ostriches were breeding naturally in the enclosure, the director said that prophylactic treatment has been administered to the rest of the birds.
Though two more birds are sick, the entire flock was fine till last week, zoo officials said. “They started showing symptoms of lack of appetite and started vomiting blood on Wednesday. All other birds are now under continuous veterinary surveillance,” a forest department official source said adding that the post mortem reports of the dead animals are expected by Monday and the results will help them intensify treatment. The expertise of the Kattupakkam livestock research station coming under Tanuvas is also being utilised to address the ailing birds, the official said.
Meanwhile, zoo officials clarified that the death of the lioness was due to senility and age-related issues. The lions that recently recovered from coronavirus are doing well, they said. The ostrich broodstock was donated by Kattupakkam livestock research station near Chengalpattu to the zoo and the AAZP had been successfully breeding the ostriches for more than seven years.
Symptoms for Avian influenza and other zoonotic infections are also under-diagnosis, AAZP sources said.