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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Bacterial infection may be behind Sambar bird deaths, says Bikaner institute

The death toll of birds on Thursday rose to 4,800 around the lake spread across 198 square kilometers, with the forest department disposing 538 bird carcasses. The forest officials said the death toll could rise in the coming days once a search for dead birds in the water starts.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2019 06:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Civic workers prepare to bury birds, which were found dead at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan, on November 12.(Photo: PTI)
Civic workers prepare to bury birds, which were found dead at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan, on November 12.(Photo: PTI)
         

A Bhopal-based laboratory has ruled out avian flu as the cause of deaths of birds in India’s biggest inland salt lake at Sambar, in Rajasthan, even as a Bikaner-based institute has said bacterial infection that spreads among birds could be the possible cause for the deaths, officials said on Thursday.

The death toll of birds on Thursday rose to 4,800 around the lake spread across 198 square kilometers, with the forest department disposing 538 bird carcasses. The forest officials said the death toll could rise in the coming days once a search for dead birds in the water starts.

The Rajasthan high court on Thursday took suo-motto cognisance of the deaths and sought a response from the state government by Friday. Hit by criticism for not doing enough, the Rajasthan government directed the collectors of Jaipur, Ajmer and Nagaur to do combing operations and also involve the state disaster relief force (SDRF) in clearing the area, officials said.

On Wednesday, chief minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted that the death of the birds was “very worrying” . “Protecting flora & fauna remains one of our top priorities,” he wrote on the Twitter.

On Thursday, forest department officials led by principal secretary Sreya Guha and chief wildlife warden, Arindam Tomar, visited Sambhar Lake . After the visit Guha said: “The good news is the report from Bhopal lab which is negative for avian flu...,” she added.