What caused the death of over 5000 birds in Sambhar lake?

The death of migratory birds was attributed to multiple causes including viral and bacterial infections. 

Published: 15th November 2019 08:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2019 08:38 PM   |  A+A-

Civic workers collect dead birds at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan Tuesday Nov. 12 2019. | (Photo | PTI)

Civic workers collect dead birds at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan Tuesday Nov. 12 2019. | (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

JAIPUR: Bird flu is not the reason for the death of the massive number of birds at Sambhar lake in Rajasthan - according to a preliminary report from Bhopal's National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases ( NIHSAD ). 

Taking cognizance of the death of the birds, one of the country's biggest bird tragedies ever, the  Rajasthan High Court had sought an answer from the State Government. 

Replying to the Court on Friday, the death of migratory birds was attributed to multiple causes including viral and bacterial infections. The following reasons are cited as reasons for their death.

  • Not getting enough food during long journey,
  • Pollution,
  • Weakness 

On Thursday, 538 birds were buried and till now more than 5000 birds have buried. So far more than 10 thousand birds are estimated to have died, 25 species of birds have been victims of premature death and which include migratory birds as well.

After National High Security Animal Disease Center's report, there is no risk of flu infection. 

While the Forest Department, Animal Husbandry Department and local administration inspected the site with the bird experts.

Experts suspect that maggots could also be the cause of the death of the birds. 

The experts of Rajasthan Veterinary and Animal Sciences University Bikaner have expressed the possibility of Avian Botulism where the infection is not spread from bird to bird, rather through maggots.

On receiving detailed report from Bhopal, the real reasons for this will be known.

Prof. AK Kataria of Bikaner Apex Center for Animal Diseases, who reached Sambhar on Friday said that it is speculated that the paralyzing symptoms displayed the birds' wings was probably caused by Avian Botulism disease, another probable cause of their death.

"The bacteria from the dead birds spreads the disease, Avian Botulism. First it paralyses the leg and then the wings, resulting in eventual death of the bird. These symptoms have been found in dead birds' legs and as most of the species died are non-vegetarian," said Prof A K Kataria.  

The situation worsens as there are many bird carcasses in the lake's vicinity which poses a serious risk to the health of other birds. 

"Jaipur, Nagaur and Ajmer Collectors has been instructed to remove the dead body of birds from water. It will be done by sending a boat with a team of SDRS. Data shows the death of 4800 birds", said Shriya Guha, Principal Secretary, Forest-Environment.

Assessing the seriousness of the matter, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had called a meeting on Thursday. 

He investigated the causes of death and ordered his administration to take effective steps.  He also asked to open another rescue center to save birds and dispose of dead birds scientifically, so that infection does not spread.


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