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Dozens of wild peacocks die in Thar desert

Published Jul 30, 2012 10:43am


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Medicine being administered to an ailing peacock at the Sindh Poultry Vaccine Centre on Saturday. -- White Star

KARACHI: Dozens of wild peacocks have died suddenly in Pakistan, prompting experts to fear an outbreak of the highly contagious Newcastle disease.

Officials on Monday confirmed the deaths of at least 60 peacocks in Thar desert, part of southern Sindh province, over the last week. Local media reports say more than 100 of the exotic birds have died.

The wildlife ministry said tests were being done to diagnose the cause of death, but said the wild peacocks had been weakened by starvation, deforestation and a lack of safe drinking water blamed on delays to the annual monsoon rains.

“Wild peacocks have become susceptible to bacterial and fungal attack, which further suppressed the immunity of the birds that paved the room for viral attack,” said a ministry official.

Experts are alarmed by the number of deaths, suspecting they may have been afflicted with Newcastle disease, known locally as ranikhet.

“We are vaccinating wild peacocks protectively for suspected viral disease, as in 2003 when a few peacocks died from the same symptoms that later proved to be ranikhet,” said Lajpat Sharma, an official in the provincial wildlife ministry.

Tahir Qureshi of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also told AFP that he suspected ranikhet was to blame.

Newcastle disease is a worldwide problem among birds and sporadic outbreaks can occur frequently. Affected birds suffer from loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing, diarrhoea, and in severe outbreaks a high proportion die.

The wildlife ministry said it was supplying fresh water to peacocks in affected areas.

Sharma said there are at least 30,000 wild peacocks in the Thar desert, but Qureshi said the numbers were declining, because of poaching and lack of effective conservation.


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Comments (11) Closed

Amjad Wyne Jul 31, 2012 01:15pm
Girish has a valid point and a good idea. Tigers are considerd endangered so it was easy for India to get the international aid and resources to get started. That might be a challenge when comes to Peacocks but that should not stop Pakistan from asking for guidance if it cannot figure out on its own.There is nothing wrong in asking for help.
Fareed Jul 31, 2012 12:41pm
The authorities should build wild life sentuary for such endangered species which rovide similar environment - at least we can save them from complete wipe off.
Mr.T Jul 31, 2012 07:48am
30k Peacocks, i didn't know that, these many peacocks were in thar region. I don't know that how wild life can cure highly contagious Newcastle disease with fresh water. One more thing these highly contagious Newcastle disease are injected / infected or how it will gets there, is someone / some medicine company doing some testing is there any conspiracy in it too ?
Girish Jul 31, 2012 08:29am
India has a successful experiment, in project Tiger, running over the last several years. Any such concrete efforts, in Pakistan, that caters to the entire ecosystem, including off course, peacocks ? Ecological deprivation can be extremely serious.
Naveed Laghari Jul 31, 2012 07:14pm
Government is doing quite well, but need to put more efforts/controls on deforestation. I do agree with Girish that Ecological deprivation can be extremely serious.
hajirah Jul 31, 2012 11:11pm
animals dying+ load shedding + high living costs + corruption + dirty politics + no education = Pakistan Is this the same nation which our ancestors fought for? We need to solve our problems and look at soluions before we everything is gone!
Sohail Ansari Jul 31, 2012 11:52pm
More immediate efforts will be needed to deal with this issue. However, authorities should develop programs for long-term sustainability of Peacocks in their native habitat. Government, international, and private partnership should be establish to deal with the problem on a long-term basis.
shahza Aug 01, 2012 02:11am
SIR mr saeed akhtar baloch dont even know anything about virus or peacocks quantity in mithi or the whole desert!!!he is not even able to be a deputy SIR plx talk about this matter seriously!!!when this virus can be removed and peacocks are also asking for help then why mr essrani is not waking up!!!i thik they all wake up when no peacock remain!!!!!!plx mr essrani suspend mr saeed akhtar baloch and give that post to MR bhaagat!!i promz u mr essrani sahib that mr bhaagat will handle this matter !!!!!!
kareem Aug 01, 2012 02:13am
because junior officer is handling the post of conservator when a senior officer is present who knows how to handle viruses because he handled the virus when virus attacked ibex !!!MR BHAAGAT should be posted at conservator post without him they will not handle this!!!!!!!!!!mr essrani wake up wake up
@shahzo123 Aug 01, 2012 02:17am
SIR i have to share a news with the people who love nature!!!Current conservator of Wildlife sindh is deputy conservator of wildlife sindh means he is the 18 grade officer holding the post of 19 grade why??????when a senior officer is present just because he is honest and he was handling this department with proper way and without corruption so he was removed from the post???he was the only officer who gives money to this department in winter season means this department was earning money??but after removing that officer wildlife has not recoverd even !0 %!!!!my advice is that ...that OFFIcER MR HUSSAIN BUX BHAAGAT should be posted at this post !!!!in his period when ibex was attacked by virus then he remove that virus in 5 days by the help of docters who came from usa!!!because he was sincere with department!!!sir plx print this if you are a pakistani!!!!
Adil Jadoon Aug 03, 2012 07:37pm
I am sure we can divert some money form the Prime ministers house and use it for a worthy cause.