New Delhi: Over 1,500 migratory birds were found dead around the Sambhar Lake area in Jaipur district of Rajasthan, on Sunday sending alarm bells ringing among environmentalists and authorities. The locals, however, claimed the number could go up to 5,000.
The dead birds were found in over five to seven square km area around the Sambhar Lake, an internationally well-known wetland, which is flocked by thousands of migratory birds during winter, according to a report in The Tribune.
While sources attributed the reason for the bird deaths to water contamination in the area, the local authorities said they were probing the matter and would only reach a conclusion after that.
“Samples were collected by the veterinary team and sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease Centre, Bhopal. The result is expected in four to five days,” a forest department official told The Tribune.
According to a report in The Indian Express, citing Japiur’s chief conservator of forests, the birds belonged to roughly 15 species. He claimed that “this has been happening for the last three to four days.”
After news of the dead birds were reported by locals, a team of revenue, forest and veterinary officials visited the area and found around 1,500 carcasses of 15 species, including plovers, common coots, black winged stilts, northern shovelers, ruddy shelducks and pied avocets. The carcasses of 669 birds were buried in a ditch, while many still lay strewn around, reported PTI.
Expressing concern over the reports, Abhinav Vaishnav, a local bird-watcher told PTI: “We have never seen anything like this. Over, 5,000 birds died mysteriously all over the place.”
As per local reports, this is the second such incident in Rajasthan within a week. On November 7, as many as 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur’s Khinchan area. Their viscera reports are still awaited.
Sambhar Lake is one of the biggest saline water lakes in India, according to an official website. The lake is fed by numerous freshwater streams emanating from rivers Mendha and Rupangarh.
The wildlife sanctuary in the area is roughly 22.5 km, which is separated by a huge stone reservoir. The eastern part of the lake has a dam for salt mining, saltpans and canals.
The sanctuary is home to different avifauna like flamingoes, black headed gull and Northern Shoveller, and about 45 species of water birds.