Death toll of migratory birds in Sambhar Lake now 17k

Workers gather dying birds in a truck at Sambhar Salt Lake in India's northern state of Rajasthan. (AFP Photo)

Nearly 17,000 migratory birds have died so far at the country's largest inland water saltwater lake near Jaipur due to botulism, a serious and fatal illness that affects the nerves, a forest official said on Monday.

The deaths were reported in Jaipur, Nagaur and Ajmer districts of Rajasthan, he said.

"The death toll has increased to nearly 17,000," Chief Wildlife Warden of the Forest Department, Arindam Tomar, said.

Jaipur collector Jagroop Singh Yadav informed that carcasses have been disposed.

Nearly 8,500 birds have died so far in Jaipur itself, Yadav said.

Initially, it was suspected that the birds died due to avian flu but the report from a laboratory in Bhopal has ruled this out.

On November 10, thousands of birds, including Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Shelduck, Plovers, Avocets, were found were found dead in the 5-7 km area around Sambhar Lake.

This was the second such incident in the state within a week.

On November 7, 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur's Khinchan area.

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