Pradeep Pattanayak

Bird flu fear gripped the residents of Natasahi village of Nuapada (Chilika) under Krushnaprasad Block in Puri district as they have been spotting carcasses of dead crows over last four days. 

The scared villagers said on Saturday they spotted around 15 to 20 carcasses of crows and country chicken lying in and around the village. “The number of dead crows found yesterday was even more. It was around 30 in number,” they added. 

Recounting the happenings, some villagers said that the birds are suddenly falling off the branches without any reason. They fear it could be due to the outbreak of bird flu among the avian species.

A poultry farm owner of the village said he had taken loans from women SHG to start the enterprise. “I had started my farm with 40-50 chickens. Around 20 to 25 fowls have so far died and we are burying them. Crows are also drying. Now, I am under tremendous mental stress,” he said. 

However, reaction from the Forest department and veterinary officials in this regard is yet to be received.

It is worth mentioning here that hundreds of migratory birds were reportedly found dead at a farmland near Ratamati village under Tangi Forest Range in Khordha district on Saturday morning.

On being informed, the Forest department officials rushed to the spot and collected samples from the carcasses of the birds. 

The officials were of the opinion that it might be a case of poisoning by the bird hunters. However, they said the actual reason behind the deaths will be known only after the post mortem was conducted. 

In this regard, the Tangi range (Forest) officer said around 30 to 40 carcasses was found lying in the farmland. “The demand for migratory birds’ meat in Berhampur, Balugaon and Bhubaneswar has led to increase in poaching activities in Chilika and nearby areas,” the officer said.

When asked about the reason that led to the deaths of migratory birds, vice-president of Wild Odisha Nandakishore Bhujabala attributed it to poisoning. “Today I came across carcasses of migratory birds lying at several places. It is the bird hunters who will eventually take them away. Instead of taking action against these bird poachers, if others are put to task, what the latter will do,” said Bhujabala.