Mystery Behind 1,000 Dead Migratory Birds In Sambhar Lake Unclear | Nat Geo Traveller India

Mystery Behind 1,000 Dead Migratory Birds In Sambhar Lake Unclear

Investigations continue as officials point towards hailstorm, bacterial or viral infections as possible reasons.  
Mystery Behind 1,000 Dead Migratory Birds In Sambhar Lake Unclear
Thousands of migratory birds have been found dead in Jaipur’s Sambhar Lake. Photo By: Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

On November 11, the land surrounding Sambhar Lake, the country’s largest inland saltwater lake, was strewn with over a 1,000 carcasses of hundreds of migratory birds like the common coot, northern shoveler, pied avocet, plover, and the tufted duck.

Forest officials are collecting samples to unearth the cause of the sudden fatalities. The toxicity of the lake’s water, a bacterial or viral infection could be the culprit, with an official ruling out bird flu.

Another reason suggested is the inclement weather conditions the region has seen over the past few days—the lake was hit with a hailstorm a few days ago.If another official is to be believed, these might be habitat-related deaths; the birds are migrating earlier than usual this year, which means that the weather might not be entirely suitable to some of them.

Recognized as a wetland of international importance, the lake welcomes thousands of migratory species every winter. A similar fatal incident was recorded on November 7, when over 30 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur District’s Khinchan region which is also a critical site for migratory birds.

The fact that two such incidents have taken place only a few days apart is cause for concern amongst forest officials given that thousands of more birds are expected to arrive in the coming days.


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  • Tanay Gokhale enjoys writing and follows what he thinks is an eclectic mix of interests. Especially passionate about travelling with good music and a book to boot.

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