Death of a large number of crows and pigeons has triggered panic in the port township with locals suspecting bird flu. In the last one week, nearly 30 crows and pigeons have died mysteriously in Nayabazaar, Badapadaia, Atharbanki, Neheruabangla and Sandhkuda. Veterinary officials have asked locals not to touch or handle the dead birds without gloves. The locals, including slum dwellers, have also been advised to bury the dead crows by digging deep holes so that the disease does not spread to other birds or other areas. While locals suspect bird flu to be the reason behind deaths, officials are yet to confirm it. Meanwhile, Veterinary officials rushed to areas where the dead crows were found and collected samples. A team of Paradip Municipality officials, led by Executive Officer Dillip Mohanty, also visited different areas of the town to take stock of the situation. Additional District Veterinary Officer (disease control) Prashant Kumar Prusty said samples have been sent to ADRI for ascertaining the cause of the unusual deaths. "The Veterinary department officials are keeping a close watch on the avian species. There is no immediate cause of worry as suspected avian influenza impact on birds is yet to be established," he added.