Sambhar Salt Lake – a famous habitat for the migratory birds turned into a graveyard a few days ago. In quite a shocking and mysterious incident, thousands of migratory birds were found dead near the Sambhar Salt Lake of Rajasthan. The incident was reported on 11 November; however, the death toll has been rising since then.

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On Sunday, around 10 species of birds were found strewn in the area which shocked not just the locals but also the forest department officials. Some of the species include plovers, common coot, black-winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet which migrate to the region in winters.

As per the Hindustan Times report, more than 1,991 carcasses of 13 species of birds were discovered and buried. This; however, is just an estimated figure. Locals believe that the numbers can be as high as 4000.

The Mystery Behind Deaths

Till now, no specific reason has been found behind the mysterious deaths. As per Forest ranger Rajendra Jakhar; hailstorm that hit the region a few days back might have been the cause. He said:

“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,”

Some officials also suspect water contamination to be the reason but no clear statement has been released. Rescue operations are underway and birds are being taken to the lab for tests.

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Not just this, a medical team has also collected water samples and carcasses to know the exact reason behind the unfortunate deaths.

Ramesh Chandra Daroga, a local working with the forest department expressed his shock:

“I have never seen such a thing in 40 years of my service in the forest department. First I thought it could be because of the hail, but that occurs every year. There is no chemical waste in this water either,”

Not The First One

Last week, around 37 demoiselle cranes also died in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur city. The case was also the first-of-its-kind since such a large number of birds have never died at their winter habitat before.

After the investigation, it was found that the birds died due to poisoning from food grains containing pesticides.

What Did the Chief Minister Say?

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot also took notice of the incident. He took to Twitter to inform that this is a worrying situation but the government is taking all the steps to prevent such deaths of migratory birds.

He tweeted: “State government has taken all necessary steps to first find out what is causing the loss of avian lives and also to take immediate steps to prevent deaths during this migratory season. Protecting flora and fauna remains one of our top priorities.”

“The Chief Conservator of Forest as well as several teams of Animal Husbandry Department are at Sambhar Lake. Both Chief Wild Life Warden and CCF are monitoring the situation. Water samples have been taken and sent for testing. Carcasses are sent to Bhopal for testing for bird flu. Toxicologists have also been called from WWI and SARCON, Coimbatore.”

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