Bird deaths: Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot orders state wetland authority be made operational

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Published: November 20, 2019 8:06:43 AM

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday issued orders for the state wetland authority to be made operational at the earliest in the wake of death of over 17,000 migratory birds in and around the Sambhar Lake.

The CM directed officials to gather details of such incidents of sudden large-scale deaths of birds at both national and international level for further analysis and future course of action.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday issued orders for the state wetland authority to be made operational at the earliest in the wake of death of over 17,000 migratory birds in and around the Sambhar Lake, according to an official release. The authority is the apex body to preserve and protect all wetlands in the state including the Sambhar Lake, which is the country’s largest inland saltwater lake. Though the notification for the authority was issued last year, the organisation was not made operational until now.

At a meeting held in his office, the chief minister reviewed rescue operations that are going on to save the birds in the lake area and gave instructions to the collectors of Jaipur, Nagaur and Ajmer districts through video conferencing, the release stated. He expressed deep concern on the avian deaths and asked officials to take all possible measures to save the birds, it said.

The CM directed officials to gather details of such incidents of sudden large-scale deaths of birds at both national and international level for further analysis and future course of action. “This could help in averting such crisis effectively and promote conservation of the birds in future,” the release stated.

He further gave directions to seek support from the Union government as well as ornithologists and NGOs from across India. It was informed during the meeting that 20 teams of over 100 veterinarians and nursing staff are working to save the birds in Sambhar Lake region in Jaipur district.

About 100 employees of the Forest Department, teams of State Disaster Response Force and several voluntary organisations 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. 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 at this large scale. Botulism is a serious and fatal illness that affects the nerves. 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.

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