With no apparent action being taken by the wildlife officials over the recent deaths of peacocks due to a viral outbreak, a lawyer has taken the Sindh government to the court, accusing the concerned department of criminal negligence.
The Sindh High Court, Hyderabad circuit bench, issued notices to the Sindh chief secretary, wildlife secretary, Tharparkar deputy commissioner, wildlife conservator and other officials for June 27.
The Newcastle disease began to take a toll on peacocks mainly in Thar from early this month. The petitioner, advocate Roshan Ali Mallah, told the court that more than 50 peacocks have died in the last two weeks.
He blamed the wildlife officials for responding late to the outbreak and for not adopting preventive measures during the summer seasons in the previous years. “Several hundred peacocks died in Thar in the summer of 2012. Even then, the wildlife officials’ laxity allowed the toll to grow.”
The wildlife deputy director, Lajpat Maharaj, however, claims that the mortality figures have been exaggerated. He told The Express Tribune that around 20,000 peacocks in Thar have been given medicines over the last week.
The Newcastle viral is caused by the nutritional deficiency of vitamins and minerals which affects the nervous system of peacocks. An acute shortage of water, sweltering heat and a very low yield of millet, maize and other plants, which the peacocks eat for nutrition, result in this deficiency. The peacocks feel dizzy and they whirl to their death.
The divisional bench comprised of Justice Nisar Shaikh and Justice Abdul Rasool Memon.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.