The veterinarians need at least 15 days to contain the viral disease which has claimed the lives of 10 more peacocks in Thar.
Tests have confirmed that the peacocks have indeed died from an outbreak of Ranikhet, or New Castle disease. Poultry development vets have been called from Sukkur and Hyderabad with medicines for the birds, according to Sindh Wildlife Minister Dayaram Esarani. He was talking to reporters at a press conference on Thursday. He said that camps have been set up in different talukas of Thar so that the veterinarians can reach sick peacocks immediately.
More than 50 peacocks have died in the past two weeks. The fresh fatalities occurred in Misri Babur, Babhanko, Khan Muhammad Lashari and Haji Hallu villages on Thursday.
Esarani said that it will take at least 15 more days for the veterinarians to be able to contain the disease. He held the local wildlife officers responsible for allowing the disease to spread. “I came to know about the severity of the situation by the media,” he said.
The minister also played down the number of dead and sick peacocks. According to him, only nine peacocks died, while another 12 were sick and were getting treatment. But he agreed that the wildlife staff were yet to visit the forest and villages where more peacocks had died.
Esarani announced a 290-million-rupee project for establishing a natural park in Karoonjhar mountains of Thar’s Nangarparkar tehsil. He said that the project aims to survey the wildlife population, provide them with long-term care and build a tourist attraction. However, he did not say when the work will begin.
The minister also said that he will present a bill in the Sindh Assembly to get the peacock declared the provincial bird.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.