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Monday, September 3

Hundreds of cranes die in Indian village due to suspected pesticide contamination

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In a bizarre incident believed to be caused by pesticide poisoning, hundreds of cranes have been spotted dead at a village in the Indian state of Punjab. The Pakki Tibbi village in the Muktsar district of Punjab has raised many eyebrows with scores of has found falling dead for mysterious reason.
dead cranes, Pakki Tibbi, Punjab
Dead cranes at the Pakki Tibbi village in Punjab, India

The water logged areas in the village have turned out to be a favorite place for the birds at least for the last three years. According to villagers, the cranes had made colonies on the Kikar trees in the area but have been showing high rates of mortality recently. Eyewitness accounts claim that even mature birds fall down unconsciously from the branches on which they perch and die afterwards.

The wild life officials who visited the spots were not able to find out the exact cause of the mysterious death of the birds. However, water contamination is suspected as the cause of death. On condition of anonymity, a wildlife official said that authorities suspect that the water logged area near the crane colonies have been poisoned due to high levels of pesticide presence.

They have taken samples from the dead cranes and have taken some of them for a postmortem to give a detailed report on the cause of death. 

Intentional poisoning or bio indication?

Since reports indicate that the villagers were not in favor of the bird colonies due to the foul smell, a chance of intended poisoning cannot be completely over ruled.

However, certain environmental groups are considering the death of the cranes as a bio-indication of the unhealthy environment in the village. According to reports, the incidence of cancer is highest among the villagers and the death of cranes points towards unhealthy elements in the environment, possibly in the water which has caused illness in the village and death to the birds.

The postmortem reports are expected to solve the mystery of the bird deaths.

Update: 
September 4, 2012 11.21 am

According to an official report from the Punjab wildlife department, the postmortem of the dead cranes at the Pakki Tibbi village has revealed that starvation and overcrowding has killed the birds. Hundreds of birds used to perch on four tress and the overcrowding resulted in fighting for food, says the report.  The report  points out that worm infestation also caused the death of the birds  since worms werer recovered from the stomach of many dead cranes.

A senior wildlife official has ruled out the rumour that there were migratory birds among the dead cranes. According to him, the worm infestation has reduced the immunity of the birds leading to their death.

However, environmentalists and experts have cried foul on the findings of the report.  According to experts cranes usually move on to find new places to make colonies if they face acute food shortage. "The report is an attempt to cover up the pollution of the water body by local industries", said a green activist in an online comment.


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