Authorities of the National Zoological Park, Delhi, on Tuesday shut down the premises temporarily after eight birds died from suspected avian influenza. Among them were a few ducks and some pelicans. An official told PTI, "The zoo has been shut down until further notice. We have sent samples of a couple of dead ducks to Jalandhar and Mathura. We are awaiting the report."

A team of the Central Zoo Authority is scheduled to visit the premises on Wednesday, reported The Indian Express. The National Zoological Park had around 40 pelicans and 20 ducks before the deaths were reported. The official, however, said that the influenza strain will not affect humans, adding that the decision to shut down the zoo was merely a precautionary one.

The reports of bird flu come about a month after India had declared itself free from the contagious H5N1 virus. The government, however, had stressed on the need for "continued surveillance". On September 14, the Department of Animal Husbandry stated, "India has declared itself free from avian influenza from September 5 and notified the same to the World Organisation for Animal Health."

Earlier this year, about 46 spotted deers were found dead in the National Zoological Park. While the zoo authorities contested the number of deaths, they had cited rabies as the cause.