KARACHI: Sindh wildlife department on Thursday said that 46 peacocks had died in district Tharparkar in 2014, however, they said that the deaths were not caused due to viral disease – Newcastle – instead they were due to adulteration and food shortage in the area.
Talking to PPI, Wildlife Conservator, Javed Ahmed Maher, said that they estimated 150,000 peacocks in Thar desert out of which 240 had died in last four years.
He said that the department had sent samples of dead peacocks to two different laboratories and contradictory reports were received regarding the presence of disease. “One of the laboratories has found NDV virus, however, the other had not found it,” he said.
Maher said that samples were also sent to University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore and a delegation comprising university professors also paid a visit to Tharparkar in order to ascertain facts regarding deaths of peacocks. “They had also not found any such virus in the samples,” he said.
He said that the department had also shifted 10 ill peacocks to a healthy place in Karachi, where their condition was getting better gradually, which also proves that the peacocks were getting ill due to non-favourable conditions.
Giving another reason for the deaths, Maher said that less peacocks died in Hindu-majority area of Tharparkar as they were providing food and water to the animal due to its religious importance in their religion, however, the Muslims were not feeding them properly.
He said that lack of rain in the area had not only created difficulties to the people in the area but also for animals. “Peacocks rely on herbs and snakes for their food but lack of rain had badly affected them,” he said.
He also requested provincial government to call Chinese and United Arab Emirates experts to guide department in order to prepare a viable plan to save this specie.
He also demanded restrictions on un-scientific activities planned by local NGOs for spending funds till prescription on scientific grounds from an expert of biodiversity were received, however, he said that habitat improving activities like watering points and throwing of healthy grains could be allowed.