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Cause of peacocks deaths uncertain

Berhampur: The cause of death of 13 peacocks between October 4 and 7 near Pakidi hill in Ganjam district has not been determined with the report that they died after consuming pesticide-laced flowers in cotton fields proving to be incorrect.

Deputy Director of Agriculture, Ganjam, Aparti Sethi said "We have seen there was no damage to crop due to use of excess pesticides in cotton fields in Ambuabadi and Kerikerijhola villages, from where forest officials found the dead and sick birds." Forest officials said the exact cause of the death of the natioanl birds would be known after the test of samples at the Coordination Center for Wildlife Health, Bhubaneswar. "We have sent the samples of the dead birds to the CCWH for testing to know the exact cause of death," a senior forest officer said.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) J D Sharma said forest and agriculture officials had instructed local people would take steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future in Pakidi hill, considered to be one of the biggest peacock habitats in the country. "During interaction with local people, we asked them to use organic pesticides for crops, which will not harm peacocks in the area," he said.

With peacock protection committee members having demanded steps to create water sources in the area for the birds, he said this would be available for peacocks, so that they did not enter fields. Wildlife officials visited the area on Sunday to create awareness among local people.

A farmer from Andhra Pradesh growing cotton in 84 acre was earlier arrested by forest officials for the death of the birds.

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