By Sajid Bajeer
Reportedly, 13 peacocks were confirmed dead taking the death toll of peacocks to 69 in a week as the disease called Newcastle once again surfaced in the district of Tharparkar in Sindh.
The new deaths were reported from parts of affected villages of Seeni, Nanani and Galhow, while scores of peacocks are reportedly sick in Thar region.
According to the veterinarian doctors, the peacocks suffering from the disease locally known as Ranikhet experience swelling of the neck and discharging water from the mouth including the signs of dizziness and stiffness. They stop eating and drinking resulting in their death within three days of the attack of the disease.
No health team has reached the area for treatment of the sick birds, locals told PakVoices. As the birds are succumbing to the deadly disease, the differences are surfacing between the departments of Wild Life and Poultry, shifting the responsibility of treatment on each other.
Mir Mohammad Junejo, a resident of Village Bakho of Mithi told Pak Voices that Wild Life teams have come to the village and have taken four sick peacocks with them.
“But there was neither any doctor with the team and nor any medicines that could be given to the suffering peacocks”, he said.
Despite the death of dozens of birds, the Wild Life officials have been slow to respond to the emergency situation and prevent the disease from spreading, tell locals.
While visiting the site, Wild Life official Ashfaq Memon talked to the local media saying that our responsibility is only to give legal protection to the peacocks and treating the peacocks is the domain of the poultry department.
“ Our deputy conservator has summoned director Poultry Department, Hyderabad to an emergency meeting called for chalking out an emergency plan to rescue the dying birds,” he said.
He told media, ”We have gathered information from the affected areas and sent to our high ups.”
On the other hand, Deputy Director poultry department Tharparkar Dr. Nandlal told that the Wild Life Department is responsible for saving the peacocks. “We do offer assistance in terms of providing doctor and medicines whenever required for the treatment of the birds.”
“ We do not share any further responsibility and we had sent a letter in this regard to the district administration and concerned authorities a year back”, he told.
He further clarified, “right now we have only one doctor, who has gone to Hyderabad for attending the meeting. As soon as he returns we are ready to assist the Wild Life department in any way.”
According to Wild Life Department, they have vitamin and antibiotics to treat the peacocks.
The recent back and forth between the two departments confirm the reports that the Wild Life department and the Poultry department have been at loggerheads over the treatment of peacocks for the last five years. On the other hand, Sindh government has also been watching the deadly disease spreading from the sidelines.
Sajid Bajeer is a citizen journalist working with PakVoices from Tharparkar region. This article has been edited by Hasan Khan and translated by Aneela Riazuddin.