Over 1,000 Migratory Birds Died Mysteriously at Rajasthan’s Sambhar Lake
Recently, more than 1,000 migratory birds belonging to an estimated 15 species were found dead around Sambhar Lake, India’s largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur. The dead birds include the Northern Shoveller, Brahminy Duck, Pied Avocet, Kent Plover and Tufted Duck among others.
However, the cause of mass deaths is still to be determined. The officials have sent the samples of dead birds to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and are waiting for viscera test reports.
The dead birds were first noticed by a few tourists across the lake. Carcasses of thousands of birds were scattered on the edge of 12-13 km of the catchment area of the lake. The locals are afraid that the actual number of dead birds could reach 5,000.
The local veterinarians and forest rangers have listed a few possible causes behind the mysterious deaths. The possibility of bird flu has been ruled out as no symptoms were found. According to the forest ranger Rajendra Jakhar, the hailstorm that hit the area a few days ago could be the suspected cause. Besides an increase in the salinity of the water, contamination of the lake water is yet another possibility.
It is the second such incident in the state within a week. Few days ago, 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur’s Khinchan area.
The lake is a favorite of flamingos, stilts, stints, garganey, and gulls among other avian species that visit the site every year during the winters. Many bird-watchers and tourists annually visit the lake to see the migratory birds.
The officials are still waiting for the reports to determine the cause of this large scale of deaths. Meanwhile, the carcasses of 669 birds were collected and buried in a ditch. But, hundreds of them still are scattered around the lake as the forest staff hesitated to venture in the muddy areas.