Death of migratory birds sets off alarm in Himachal

Locals fear swine flu; samples sent for testing; minister Pathania promises strict action

Death of migratory birds sets off alarm in Himachal

An official examines a dead bird in Pong Wetland area. Tribune photo

Rajiv Mahajan

Nurpur, December 30

Mysterious deaths of a large number of exotic migratory birds in the wildlife sanctuary area alongside Pong Wetland, which went unabated on the third day on Wednesday, have alarmed not only the wildlife authorities, but locals too. The locals are apprehending possibility of swine flu taking a heavy toll on hundreds of the winged visitors since Monday.

The wildlife authorities are yet to ascertain the cause behind the mysterious deaths of a number of migratory birds. Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Hamirpur, Rahul M Rahane rushed to the spot today to oversee the situation.

The team of as many as 50 employees of the Wildlife Department led by the DFO carried out a special drive to detect and count the dead birds in the wildlife sanctuary area in Nagrota Surian and Dhameta ranges. The DFO told The Tribune that dead birds had been found in Sihal, Majjar and Guglara (Sidhatha) Wildlife Sanctuary areas on Wednesday. He said the dead birds were being buried in recommended scientific manner.

He added that dead birds were of nine species and maximum of those to fall prey were bar headed geese.

Meanwhile, a team of veterinary doctors from veterinary laboratory, Shahpur, in Kangra also examined the spot. The samples of dead birds were collected for postmortem.

Pong Wetland is the first manmade wetland offering transitory place for exotic migratory birds such as bar headed geese, pochards, ruddy, shaddock, coots, cormorants, pintails and mallards. These migratory birds from China, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tibet, Siberia and Iraq throng the wetland in mid-October and return to their native countries in March on the onset of the spring.

Wildlife Department DFO and employees carried out a special drive to detect and count the dead birds in the wildlife sanctuary area in Nagrota Surian and Dhameta ranges. The DFO told The Tribune that dead birds had been found in Sihal, Majjar and Guglara (Sidhatha) Wildlife Sanctuary areas on Wednesday. The birds were being buried in recommended scientific manner. The dead birds are of nine species and maximum were bar headed geese.

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