Following the confirmation of a third dead bird found in Yuen Long District infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus within a period of 10 days in the same area, the Aviary Pagoda in Yuen Long Park, which is within a radius of 3 kilometres from the location where the infected birds were found, has been closed until further notice, a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) announced today (February 14).
The temporary closure was arranged according to the advice of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the established guidelines, the spokesman said.
"Proper notices have been put up at prominent positions of the park to inform visitors of the temporary closure of the Aviary Pagoda," he said.
Since the discovery of dead birds infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus, the LCSD's Senior Veterinary Officer and staff have been keeping a close watch over the health condition of some 1,300 birds kept in the aviaries in four parks, namely Hong Kong Park, the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Kowloon Park and Yuen Long Park.
"The birds we keep are healthy and we have not detected any cases of infection so far. The temporary closure of Yuen Long Park's Aviary Pagoda is purely precautionary," the spokesman said.
"We have arranged to step up the frequency of cleaning the aviaries to three times a day to maintain a high level of hygiene. We have also reminded staff to strictly follow the guidelines when cleaning bird droppings and handling dead birds found in our venues."
As a health precaution, signs have been put up at all LCSD venues where there are bird collections or congregations of wild birds to remind the public not to touch the birds or their droppings.
The LCSD spokesman urged members of the public not to feed wild birds.
"It is an offence to feed or attempt to feed any birds at LCSD venues. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted, and is liable to a fine of $2,000 and 14 days' imprisonment."
Ends/Tuesday, February 14, 2012