170 peacocks die of contagious disease in Pakistan

Islamabad, Feb 27 (IANS) Some 170 peacocks have reportedly succumbed to an avian disease in Pakistan’s Tharparkar region, local media reported.

Tharparkar’s honorary district game warden Talook Chand Valasai confirmed the death toll, saying at least 30 birds died in various parts of the desert during the last couple of days.

The sudden spike in the deaths of the birds has sparked doubt and fear among local experts as well as natives who said it might be an onset of the Newcastle disease, locally known as Ranikhet, a contagious avian disease, Dawn reported.

Abdul Majeed Junejo, chairman of Joru union council near Mithi, told the local journalists that during past couple of weeks, more than 30 peafowls have died of disease.

“The neck of the birds swell up after contracting the infection, after which they eventually collapse and die,” Junejo added, saying there were plenty of birds who are ailing and are in a need of treatment.

He said that he, along with locals, has time and again requested the wildlife department to visit the area and determine what was causing the sudden deaths of the birds but to no avail.

Ashfaque Ahmed Memon, an official at the wildlife department, said that despite a shortage of staff in the vast desert region, teams were being sent to villages to collect samples of dead birds as well as vaccinate the sick peafowls. He added that four additional teams had been formed on an emergency basis to vaccinate the ailing birds.