BHUBANESWAR: With bird flu apprehensions ruled out, the mass mortality of peacocks in Madhupur village, on the borders of Chandaka and Khurda forest divisions, has gone murkier. While toxicity or poison has been established as the reason behind the deaths, the motive has kept the forest officials on tenterhooks.
Of the 28 birds which died within a week, at least 25 were peacocks. The experts of Odisha College of Veterinary Science, during the post-mortem, found that livers, lungs, kidneys and muscles of the birds to have undergone changes under impact of the possible poisoning.
“We need to isolate the material to know what poison caused the deaths. That is why further investigation is being carried out,” Prof Niranjan Sahu, head of Medicine Department of the College said.
Since paddy was found from the gizzard, the experts are trying to identify the poisonous material to conclude what could be the most plausible cause. The food samples from the stomach are being sent to Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Bareilly. Similarly, visceral samples will also be sent to another lab. The water samples are already under investigation.
Sahu said, an epidemiological study is also being conducted and a daily report generated for a week.
While an expert team of pathology, medicine and toxicology departments are on the job, the Forest Department is also looking for answers. Both the agencies are trying to ascertain if the poisoning was accidental or deliberate, or if there are some natural reasons behind the deaths.
“Outbreak of a disease is ruled out because it comes in a cycle while poaching may not be cause. Poachers would have taken away the carcasses of the birds either for sale of feathers and meat or even for personal consumption,” sources said.
Sabotage as a reason has not been ruled out. The birds started dying around December 6 and the carcasses were left at the spot till December 8 when the matter came to light. Interestingly, when the second batch of three peacock deaths was reported, the forest officials found the neck of a bird to have been slit. This has only strengthened the view that sabotage may have been a reason.
Investigating the sabotage and poaching angles, the Chandaka Wildlife Division officials on Friday raided Angarpada village where they found feathers and snares from the houses of two locals. They have been arrested but the official sources say they may not have been behind the mass mortality.
Meanwhile, the Animal Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) has mounted surveillance in the area.
Mystery over Motive
28 birds had died within a week of which 25 were peacocks
Experts found livers, lungs, kidneys and muscles of birds to have undergone changes due to poisoning
Chandaka Wildlife Division officials raided Angarpada village and found feathers and snares from two locals