Botulism kills thousands of migratory birds in Rajasthan
- Nearly 17,000 migratory birds have died so far at Rajasthan's Sambhar Lake region near Jaipur due to botulism.
- Rajasthan CM has asked officials to take all possible measures to save the birds.
- Botulism is a serious and fatal illness that affects the nerves.
- Authorities are also taking the help of experts from various institutes of India.
Nearly 17,000 migratory birds have died so far at Rajasthan's Sambhar Lake region near Jaipur due to botulism, a serious and fatal illness that affects the nerves, a forest official said on Monday. The deaths were reported in Jaipur, Nagaur and Ajmer districts of Rajasthan, he said. "The death toll has increased to nearly 17,000," Chief Wildlife Warden of the Forest Department, Arindam Tomar, said. Nearly 8,500 birds have died so far in Jaipur itself, Jaipur collector Jagroop Singh Yadav said.
Initially, it was suspected that the birds died due to avian flu but the report from a laboratory in Bhopal has ruled this out. Sambhar Lake is the country's largest inland water saltwater lake.
On November 10, thousands of birds, including Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Shelduck, Plovers, Avocets, were found dead in the 5-7 km area around Sambhar Lake. This was the second such incident in the state within a week. On November 7, 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur's Khinchan area.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot recently issued orders for the state wetland authority to be made operational at the earliest in the wake of death of migratory birds in and around the Sambhar Lake, according to an official release. The CM also directed officials to gather details of such incidents of sudden large-scale deaths of birds at both national and international levels for further analysis and future course of action.
It was informed during the meeting that 20 teams of over 100 veterinarians and nursing staff are working to save the birds in the Sambhar Lake region in Jaipur district. About 100 employees of the Forest Department, teams of State Disaster Response Force and several voluntary organizations are also on the ground taking part in the rescue operations.
Over 600 birds have been rescued so far and given treatment with many of the birds recovering well, the release stated. The officials pointed out that after proper disposal of carcasses, and rescue works, the number of deaths has declined considerably.
The help of experts from the Wildlife Institute of India, Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and Bombay Natural History Society is also being taken. Experts at the Rajasthan Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences University in Bikaner have indicated that botulism could be the cause of death of birds on this large scale.
Samples have also been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly for confirmation of septicity.
Public Health and Engineering Minister BD Kalla, Animal Husbandry Minister Lal Chand Kataria, Industries Minister Parsadi Lal Meena and senior officers attended the meeting.
(With inputs from agencies.)