Bird flu ruled out as cause of death of kites, cranes in Amreli

Bird flu has been ruled out as the cause of death of three kites and 27 demoiselle cranes at Victor dam in Amreli's Rajula taluka last weekend even as two more kites and a crane were found dead in the area on Wednesday.

"The preliminary report of the Animal Husbandry department has ruled out bird flu as the cause of death," said J K Makwana, DCF at Rajula, adding that they suspect poisoning, deliberate or otherwise, as the cause of death.

Migratory cranes (which come to the Indian subcontinent each winter from Mongolia and China) and kites had been found dead on Saturday near the salt pans in Victor dam area of Rajula, where Gujarat Heavy Chemicals is based.

Wildlife experts had feared bird flu may have killed the birds.

Makwana said the cranes' feeding habits they routinely eat groundnuts and cashew-nuts from the region's farms will have to be taken into account during further inquiries.

A wildlife activist from the area said these crops are sometimes laced with fertilizers and pesticides since neelgai and wild boars often devour them while they are being dried, and slowly poison the animals.

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