Biologists on Saturday sounded the alarm with over 1,000 migratory birds, largely the endangered bar-headed goose, a highest-altitude migrant, were found dead over the past one week or so in Pong wetlands — one of the largest in northern India in Himachal Pradesh.
Chief Conservator Wildlife (Pong wetlands) Upasna Patyal told IANS the reason for the deaths is still a mystery as their carcasses have been sent to different laboratories to determine their cause of death, but it could take days or at least a week to get results.
The number of deaths was now more than 1,000. Besides the bar-headed goose, the other species were the shoveler, the river tern, the black-headed gull and the common teal.
Some birds — including the bar-headed goose — were seen acting strangely before their deaths, she said.
“When you’re seeing that birds are not able to take the flight despite healthy wings, it’s really disturbing. At some distance, you find their carcasses,” she said.
The bird carcasses were sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar and the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun to know their cause of death.
Sensing gravity of the situation, Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) scientist K.S. Gopi Sundar told IANS that it’s something an alarming situation.
“We are getting reports of death of birds in nature across India. It’s likely to be a disease because the deaths are occurring in multiple locations involving multiple species. It is a dangerous situation and needs multi-stakeholder intervention on priority,” he warned.