MITHI, July 31: Spread of viral disease Newcastle (Rani Khet) among peacocks and hens is spreading in other parts of Thar as a result of which 19 more precious birds have died over the past three days in different villages of the district.

The fast spreading disease has killed two peahens in Mokhar, one in Tar Dose, two in Gurrabah village, eight peacocks in Vee Bheel, one in Bapuhar and five in Kot Mir Jan Mohammad.

Scores of peacocks, reportedly infected with this virus, can be found in villages of Bapuhar, Hothi Jo Tar, Mokhar, Bhakuo and Gulo Jo Tar.

However, no significant measures could be taken by the authorities concerned to save these rare birds from the fatal disease.

Blue peacocks, said to be one of the most beautiful birds in the world, is usually seen majestically strolling and dancing on dunes in Tharparkar, particularly in the morning and evening.

In the past, when panchayat system was strong, peacocks were found almost in every village of Thar. However, sale of the bird and its eggs and chicks, unabated poaching, alarming increase in human population and anti-environmental activities, have contributed to decrease in its population.

A sworn enemy of snakes, viper and other poisonous reptiles, peacocks kill them as soon as it is found by them. Peacocks are a natural defence for people against snakes and vipers. No snake- bite cases are reported from those parts of the region where peacocks are found in a good number.

Officials of the local wildlife department, responsible to check spread of the virus, are reportedly short of required funds, and may not cope with this gigantic task of treating the ailing birds.

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