Confused Officials and Bird Carcasses: What I Saw at Sambhar Lake

Confused Officials and Bird Carcasses: What I Saw at Sambhar Lake

My Report

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

The death of nearly 17,000 birds at Rajasthan's Sambhar Lake has left locals and state officials clueless. I went on ground to gauge the situation. Starting 14 November, carcasses of over 29 species of birds began appearing at the banks of India’s largest inland saltwater lake.

I was initially only able to click photos of the devastating scenario. I reported this for The Quint on 18 November.

Many birds were alive but unable to walk or take flight. 
Many birds were alive but unable to walk or take flight. 
(Photo Courtesy: Samyak Soni)

I was 3 km away from Sambhar Lake when I heard that the state Forest Minister Sukhram Vishnoi was at the site, taking stock of the situation. Unfortunately, authorities were not able to answer any of our questions. After a few hours, when the head official came, we spoke to him and he said he doesn’t know what caused the deaths.

Also Read : Photos: At Sambhar Lake I Saw Dead Birds and Nobody Knew Why

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A team of 17 members of the SGRF and 61 members of civil defence had been canvassing the area all day for more birds to rescue. All the dead birds were being put in polythene bags and were buried in the land. Veterinary doctors were trying to treat the sick birds on the site itself or sending them directly to a rescue centre.

However, there is still no conclusive answer to mass deaths. At around 4 pm, when the forest minister arrived, he said even he got the information 3 to 4 days later, which is shocking.

Later, Mr Vishnoi assured us that there was an investigation ongoing into the delay in receiving information. He added that the situation was being monitored.

While preliminary reports now suggest avian botulism is the cause, this incident has several ecological repercussions, which I don’t think the Rajasthan government is ready to address.

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