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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2019

1,000 migratory birds found dead near Sambhar lake in Rajasthan

Jaipur district veterinary doctor, Ashok Kumar, said prima facie it seems to be a case of water contamination but clarity will come only when the viscera investigation reports come. The viscera have been sent to a laboratory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh for tests.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2019 06:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
The deaths of migratory birds around the Sambhar lake in Jaipur were reported over a fortnight.
The deaths of migratory birds around the Sambhar lake in Jaipur were reported over a fortnight. (HT Photo )
         

At least 1,000 migratory birds, spanning 13-15 species were found dead around the Sambhar lake in Jaipur district of Rajasthan over the past fortnight, forest officials said, adding that the exact cause of the deaths will be known once the reports of their viscera samples comes by the end of the week.

Sambhar salt lake is located 80 km southwest of the city of Jaipur and is India’s largest inland salt lake. It is recognized wetland of international importance and is a key wintering area for tens of thousands birds.

Jaipur district veterinary doctor, Ashok Kumar, said prima facie it seems to be a case of water contamination but clarity will come only when the viscera investigation reports come. The viscera have been sent to a laboratory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh for tests.

Sanjay Kaushik, assistant conservator of forest, said: “The reason behind the deaths can be bird flu or the presence of a pollutant. We have taken samples of the water as well to ascertain the cause of the deaths.”

Kumar dismissed the possibility of the birds dying because of a virus saying there were no such symptoms. He said about 1000 birds were found dead.

Rajasthan’s chief wildlife warden, Arindam Tomar, said: “We have sent officials to spot and also getting other sites checked where the migratory birds arrive in winter.”

He added that the carcasses have been disposed.

Locals and birders reported the first death of birds at Sambhar about a fortnight ago and officials said that since then, there have been regular reports of birds being found dead.

The incident comes four days after 37 Demoiselle Cranes, also migratory, were found dead at Khichan in Phalodi area of Jodhpur. The viscera reports of the cranes are awaited.

A senior forest official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that this year the migratory birds arrived a month earlier, not just in Sambhar Lake, but at other places also such as Bharatpur. “The deaths of birds could also be a case of early migration and inhospitable climatic conditions. It cannot be an epidemic as than the number of deaths would have been much higher (in that case),” he said.

Wildlife conservationist, KS Gopisundar said that while clarity will emerge with the reports of viscera samples, such incidents are not frequent. “The incident is alarming and we need to find out why happened to prevent its recurrence in future. The migratory species that arrived at Sambar Lake are very common and found in several other wetlands. Their presence in large numbers indicated that they found the area conducive,” he said.

The incident in Khichan seems to be related to the use of pesticide by farmers, he added.

According to forest department officials, the species found dead were Pallas Gulls, Gull-billed Terns,Black-winged Stints, Kentish Plovers, Pied Avocets, Northern Shovelers, Ruddy Shelducks, and a few others.