All staff at the sanctuary are undergoing tests after it was reported that a COVID-19 patient had visited the premises.

Picture of a painted stork bird flapping its wings while standing over some water and grass The bird looks at the camera with one eye while its legs are a bright pinkPixabay, image for representation
Coronavirus Karnataka floods 2020 Friday, August 07, 2020 - 13:09

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Mysuru, which is situated on the banks of the Kaveri river, has been closed to the public. This comes after parts of Karnataka have become flooded due to incessant rains, with authorities saying that they would release more water from the nearby Kabini dam to offset the heavy inflow. The officer in charge of the sanctuary also said that there have been concerns due to COVID-19.

Surendra K, the Range Forest Officer at Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary said, “We are testing all our staff after we found out that a COVID-19 positive person visited the sanctuary. All staff, including officers and field staff; around fifty people, are getting tested.”

He added that the floodgates being opened is the secondary reason for the closure. “We are currently sanitising all the areas which are accessible to the public because of the risk of the coronavirus. However, we have also been told that water would be released from the dam gradually and that has also been taking place. They will continue to release the water for two or three more days,” he said.

Sources said that the bird sanctuary’s administration is usually informed in advance, should the water be released from the dam for any reason. Several places across coastal Karnataka and Kerala have reported severe flooding, with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issuing red alerts in many areas.

Mysuru reported 361 new cases of coronavirus on August 6, taking the total count of active cases in the city to 3,784. The bird sanctuary is situated around 19 kilometres from the city. Mandya district, under which the sanctuary falls, reported 134 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, taking the total count of active cases in the district to 1,026.

The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary is a famous watering hole for a variety of rare birds, with many migratory birds also taking shelter in the expansive sanctuary. The availability of abundant water resources and trees attracts hundreds of species of birds, including the painted stork.

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