The baffling death of 25 peacocks and several number of other bird varieties such as cranes, crows and pigeons led to concerns of bird flu outbreak in Odisha. The dead birds were found near a water source, yesterday morning, in a forest close to Madhupur village, which comes under the ambit of Khurda Forest Division. Concerned villagers intimated the Forest officials of Chandaka and Khurda divisions.

The cause of the death is still to be determined. The forest officials cannot ascertain the time when the deaths occurred, but they estimate the birds died a couple of days ago.

The carcasses were collected by the officials of the Khurda Forest Department and dispatched to the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) for conducting a post-mortem. There existed no evidence of poisonous substances at the site. However, water samples from the water source have been dispatched for testing.

Khurda Ranger, Dillip Kumar Rout stated that a team comprising of Khurda and Chandaka range officials are examining the forest to find out if there were additional deaths of birds or animals there.

Rout believes that the birds were affected by a bacterial disease. He added that required steps would be initiated after the OUAT report.

According to the forest department, the chances of poisoning whether deliberate or accidental are small. The peacocks had a long-standing presence in the forest with the locals not disturbing them since years.

Also, the birds did not cause problems to the human community such as damaging crops. Hence, there were little chances of human retaliation against them.

OUAT veterinarians, Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and other concerned officials from wildlife divisions are anticipated to visit the site today.