Thousands of migratory birds of about ten species were found dead around Sambhar Lake, India’s largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur.
Officials suspect water contamination as one of the reasons for the deaths.
Officials report 1,500 carcasses while locals say there are more than 5,000 dead birds.
“We have never seen anything like that. Over 5,000 birds died mysteriously all over the place,” said 25-year-old Abhinav Vaishnav, a local bird-watcher as he discovered with some of his friends the bodies of hundreds of lifeless migratory birds last Sunday.
Officials said they suspect water contamination as one of the reasons for the deaths but were awaiting viscera test reports.
Hailstorm? Bird Flu? Water Contamination? Increased Salinity?
Carcasses of thousands of dead birds including plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet were scattered on the edge of 12-13 km of the catchment area of the lake.
“We estimate about 1,500 birds of about 10 species have died. We are also looking at other possibilities like toxicity of the water, bacterial or viral infection,” he said.
Bird flu has already been ruled out by veterinarians: “At initial examination we did not find any sort of secretion from the birds, which is a giveaway in the cases of bird flu. However, the water may have been contaminated.
Increased salinity of the water could also be another reason, as enhanced salt concentration in the blood can slow down the blood flow sometimes leading to a collapse of internal organs and of the brain.
A medical team from Jaipur has collected a few carcasses and water samples have been sent to Bhopal for further toxicological examination.
Mysterious Bird Mass Die-Off Perplexes Locals and Officials
Every year, the lake hosts approximately 50,000 flamingos and 1,000,000 waders.
The strange mass die-off event has left villagers and officials baffled for the lack of a sensible explanation.
“I have never seen such a thing in 40 years of loyal service for the forest department. First I thought it could be because the result of hail, but that occurs every year. There is no chemical waste in this water either,” said Ramesh Chandra Daroga, a local working with the forest department.
This is the second such unexplained incident in the state within a week after 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur’s Khinchan area last Thursday.
Meanwhile, the carcasses are being collected and buried in a ditch. What is the reason behind this horrifying bird mass die-off? [The Hindu]