Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Khurda, Dec 18:
In the Madhupur peacock death incident, Forest Department of Odisha arrested two men from Khurda this morning for allegedly using poison to poach the birds.
Officials have seized various types of nets, the skull of a deer and peacock feathers from their houses. Besides, they have also detained two more people for selling peacock feather at a local festival in Khurda.
A joint team of Khurda and Chandka forest ranges led by Chandka DFO and Khurda Ranger conducted raids at various villages including Madhupur and Angarpada this morning and arrested both men, allegedly poachers. The raids by the joint team are still going at various places in Khurda as we write this report.
Even though the department had been investigating the incident ever since the issue came to fore, the raids have been intensified today after reports of OUAT (Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology) yesterday pointed towards poisoning.
Experts of OUAT yesterday indicated that the peacocks and other birds that were found dead have most likely died of poisoning. The university authorities plan to send the samples to other institutes outside the state for specific inputs on the type of poisoning that had killed the birds in such large numbers.
Notably, in an unprecedented incident in Khurda, carcass of more than 20 peacocks, a crow and a heron were recovered from Madhupur forest on December 8. The birds were suspected to have died before 24-48 hours. The serial deaths of peacocks continue in the forest with odd cases coming out every other day.
While bird flu was suspected to be the reason behind the deaths initially, Bhopal based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases on December 15 ruled out chances of avian influenza after testing the swabs sent by OUAT.