As many as 25 peacocks and several other birds were found dead in the forest of Madhupur village in Odisha's Khurda district on Tuesday morning.
The villagers of Madhupur found carcasses of peacocks, pigeons, crows and cranes around a water body in the forest and informed the officials at Khurda and Chandaka forest departments.
The forest officials have sent the carcasses of the birds to Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) for post-mortem to ascertain the cause of deaths, according to The New Indian Express report.
From OUAT, the samples will be sent to Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI) of State Veterinary Department and National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSD) in Bhopal to find the reason behind the deaths, Khurda Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Manoj Mohapatra said.
The sudden deaths of birds has triggered suspicion of bird flu outbreak in the state, but the forest officials are also looking at other angles. The officials also contemplated poisoning angle, but they said that possibilities are less.
"Nothing, however, is ruled out as yet. The cause of death will be confirmed after test reports come. An expert team from OUAT will also visit the site for ground examinations," The New Indian Express quoted Chandaka DFO Akshay Patnaik as saying.
"Since paddy crop cutting has already been completed in the surrounding areas, there was little chance of deliberate poisoning of birds. We are keeping a close watch in the forest... We have also asked villagers to stay alert and inform forest officials immediately if they come across any further deaths in their surroundings," The Hindu quoted Patnaik as saying.
Meanwhile, fearing bird blu, the forest officials have issued an alert to Chilika and nearby forests. The mysterious deaths have raised concerns about other birds in the sanctuary as well.