The corpses of more than a dozen species of migratory birds were found littered around Sambhar Lake, in the northern state of Rajasthan, in recent days.
The lake is a favored winter spot of migratory birds from Europe and China and is a recognized wetland of international importance, so the unexplained mass death has sparked serious concern among officials.
“We have never seen anything like this,” Abhinav Vaishnav, a local bird-watcher, told the Press Trust of India.
The birds are not showing any symptoms of bird flu and approximately 25 birds who are still alive are being treated for their injuries. Water contamination has emerged as the chief suspect in the case, but testing has yet to confirm this hypothesis.
“Some of the migratory birds could have been infected by some disease which could have spread to others through the lake water. Water samples have also been taken for examination,” spokesperson Sanjay Kaushik told the Free Press Journal.
The unexplained deaths are being investigated by government agencies.