Autopsy of peacocks found dead at Delhi’s Palam airbase points towards heatstroke | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Autopsy of peacocks found dead at Delhi’s Palam airbase points towards heatstroke

Jul 03, 2024 05:10 AM IST

The department added that no peacock deaths were reported at the airbase after June 28, when widespread rain led to a drop in temperatures across Delhi

Four of the 28 peacocks that were found dead at the Palam Air Base last month have tested negative for any viral strain, indicating that they died of heatstroke, Delhi’s forest and wildlife department said on Tuesday.

The forest official added that heatstroke, however, is not the only reason behind the deaths, with post-mortem also revealing pneumonia and hepatosis. (HT Photo)
The forest official added that heatstroke, however, is not the only reason behind the deaths, with post-mortem also revealing pneumonia and hepatosis. (HT Photo)

The department added that no peacock deaths were reported at the airbase after June 28, when widespread rain led to a drop in temperatures across Delhi.

“We sent the carcasses of four dead peacocks to the Delhi zoo last week and samples of the four peacocks to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly. The reports have come back, and no viral disease was found in the virology tests run there. We have also not recorded any peacock death at the airbase after June 28,” said a senior forest official, adding that teams will continue to monitor the site.

The forest official added that heatstroke, however, is not the only reason behind the deaths, with post-mortem also revealing pneumonia and hepatosis – a disorder of the liver, as reasons behind the death of two peacocks. “We believe that a majority of the deaths occurred due to heatstroke, as the deaths stopped once rains hit Delhi. We have also taken preventive measures there accordingly,” the official added.

The forest and wildlife department inspected the Palam airforce station on June 25 when three peacocks were found dead there. The department issued a report saying that 27 dead peacocks were found there between June 4 and 25. A day later, another peacock was found dead.

The incident report said a death was reported on June 4, June 6, June 11 and June 12. Two deaths each were reported between June 13-15. On June 17, a single death was reported; two on June 18, four on June 19 and one on June 20. On June 22, two more were reported, and four deaths occurred on June 24

Delhi saw three intense heatwave spells since mid-May, which continued late into June. The first spell of four consecutive heatwave days was between May 17 and 20. The second – the longest of the three — was from May 25 to June 5, with the maximum touching as high as 46.8°C on May 29. The third spell began on June 9 and lasted till June 20, with temperatures gradually improving as pre-monsoon showers started. On June 28, the onset of the monsoon was declared over Delhi.

Considering the high concretisation at the base, the department asked authorities to construct watering holes five feet in diameter and at least 10 inches deep. “These holes are being created, along with food being dropped in parts of the base for peacocks,” a second forest official said.

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