Villagers from Noida Extension in Greater Noida have claimed a mysterious disease is killing peacocks in the area. Forty peacocks have been reported dead in the last one month at Patwari, Vedpura, Milak and other villages of Noida Extension.
Jitendra Agarwal, a villager from Patwari, claimed, "They first turn blind and then stop having food and water. They also suffer from a paralysis-like attack before succumbing to the illness. I informed the local block veterinary officer about the deaths three weeks ago."
He said the administration didn't do anything. The villagers also alleged that local authorities did not pay heed to their repeated complaints about peacocks falling prey to an unknown disease.
The administration took notice only after this correspondent accompanied Agarwal, who went to complaint once again, on Monday. They sent four sick peacocks to a forest range in Greater Noida for treatment by a government veterinary doctor. But bird experts said peacocks should be treated only by bird specialists and not by a veterinary doctor.
Recently, cases of peacock deaths were reported from Gurgaon as well. In June and July this year, nearly two dozen peacocks were found dead at Hasanpur village in the Aravalis and Kasan village in Manesar.
Some Noida Extension villagers also claimed that one or two peacocks were dying in their villages every day. They have started sheltering sick peacocks in their homes fearing that stray dogs might kill them.
"Since sick peacocks cannot fly, dogs and other animals can harm them. So, we have sheltered them but we can't save them," said Suresh Yadav, another villager.
B. Prabhakar, divisional forest officer (DFO), Gautam Budh Nagar district, said, "Four peacocks are suffering from a water-borne disease due to contaminated water. They also have high fever. We have sent blood samples to a lab in Bareilly to identify the disease. Carcasses have been sent for post-mortem examination."
"Excess use of fertilizers and other forms of chemicals by farmers might have contaminated the food peacocks eat. Domestic waste and environmental changes also could have affected these birds," said Rupak Dey, chief wildlife warden of UP.