After vehement denials that there were no peacock deaths at Kasan village in the Aravalis, the wildlife department on Friday finally acknowledged the problem and ordered an inquiry.
The move came after Hindustan Times raised the issue with senior officials at the forest department’s Panchkula office.
On Thursday, HT had reported that 10 peacocks had died while 20 had fallen sick in the last four days in the village adjoining the Industrial Model Township (IMT) Manesar.
Following instructions from additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) RK Sapra, officials from Gurgaon will now visit the village on Saturday to inquire into the reports of peacocks carcasses being buried by villagers.
“I didn’t know that there were deaths too. Now that this is being brought to my notice, a wildlife team will look into it,” Sapra told HT, adding that the department was sensitive to the issue.
On Friday, senior wildlife officials also admitted that birds could be victims of not just heat stroke — as the department had been claiming till Thursday — but may be some other unidentified disease.
Gurgaon conservator of forests (wildlife) Vinod Kumar said, “We cannot negate the possibility of some unknown disease leading to their ill health.” Barely a few metres from where the birds died, there are five cellular and internet towers and villagers say harmful radiations from them could be a cause of death.
Villagers buried the carcasses “fearing they would have been eaten by dogs and cats”.
Peacocks come under schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and they can be buried only by the wildlife department.
Senior officials said that the inspecting team that will visit Kasan on Saturday will try to take samples of the dead birds.
Officials said samples of sick birds may be collected and sent to animal husbandry laboratories. “We have called veterinary experts from Hisar, Bareilly and Bhopal,” said a senior wildlife official.
Meanwhile, two more peacocks were reported sick at Kasan and taken to veterinary hospital on Friday.
According to a release by the district public relations officer (DPRO) of Gurgaon, the animal husbandry department has refuted the news reports of peacocks’ deaths at Kasan.
Quoting the deputy director (veterinary department) of Gurgaon, the release says there has been no death so far and only 19 birds have been found sick.