Wildlife & Biodiversity

Hundreds of birds die in Sambhar Lake

Tourists discovered dead birds at Sambhar lake in Jaipur district

Last Updated: Monday 04 November 2019

More than 1,500 migratory birds have died mysteriously near the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan. Down To Earth photographer Vikas Choudhary found several species dead in the area on November 11, 2019.

The state fForest department was yet to ascribe a cause to the sudden deaths, said Sanjay Kaushik, assistant conservator of forest. “We received complaints about the dead birds on Sunday (November 10) from tourists visiting the lake,” Kaushik, who is involved in the investigation, said.

About 15 different species of birds have been found dead so far. Most of them are migratory species, with a few local ones as well. Ruddy shelduck, ruddy turnstone, northern shoveler, blackwinged stilt and common coot were among the species affected. A lesser flamingo was also found and was being treated, Kaushik said. The dead birds were being buried in deep pits around the lake, he added.

Most of the dead birds were found around Ratan Talab, a section of the lake.

The birds have died at different times, which means there could be poisoning or an avian disease. Some of the intact carcasses of these dead birds have been sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases Bhopal, for autopsy. A veterinary team has also reached the lake to investigate the deaths.

Sambhar is India's biggest inland saltwater lake, spreading between 190 to 230 sqkm and is located in Jaipur district of Rajasthan. It attracts a host of migratory birds. But in recent years development activities, especially extension of salt pan operations, settlement  and weather changes have led to lesser number of migratory birds coming to the lake.  

There were reports of birds falling dead in Jodhpur districts last week.


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