Activists Call For Action To Curb Avian Deaths

After the death of hundreds of migratory birds in the marshland of Rajasthan’s Sambhar Salt Lake, environmentalists here have called for urgent action to find out what is causing the loss of avian lives. The decomposed carcasses of birds have indicated that the deaths had occurred over the last one week. The dead birds belonged to about 10 species, which migrate annually to water bodies in India from the cold northern regions of Central Asia. The Sambhar Salt Lake, situated 80 km south-west of Jaipur, is the country’s largest inland saline water body which attracts thousands of migratory birds every year. Tourism & Wildlife Society of India (TWSI) honorary secretary Harsh Vardhan, who visited the lake on Tuesday, told The Hindu that the carcasses were collected in a tractor-trolley and buried in a ditch. Though the Forest Department has sent viscera for investigation, there was no arrangement for on-the-spot dissection of carcasses by veterinarians. While water contamination or algae poisoning were described in some quarters as the possible reasons for the birds’ deaths, Mr. Vardhan said only a strict monitoring by the Forest Department could prevent such incidents. Birdwatcher Sudhir Garg called for immediate steps to prevent the deaths as the migratory season is expected to last the winter. Sanjay Kaushik, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Dudu, said the water samples from the lake had been collected for examination, while the investigation had focused on the presence of some pollutant in the lake or infection among some birds that could have spread.

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