KARACHI – A lawmaker from the PML-Q Likeminded on Wednesday came down hard on the Sindh Wildlife Department for its alleged failure to protect peacocks from a certain deadly disease in Tharparkar district.
In his reply to the concerns voiced by the PML-Q Likeminded parliamentarian, Wildlife Minister Dr Daya Ram Essarani maintained that only a few birds had so far died of the disease. He vehemently denied the reports of widespread deaths of peacocks, maintaining that a team of veterinarians, in its visit to the desert area, discovered that “a certain viral disease killed a few birds”. According to him, the drought-like situation in Thar caused the emergence of the Newcastle viral infection in peacocks.
Essarani also contended that it was not possible to immunise every wild bird against the infection. “The Wildlife Department has no veterinary doctors and vaccines, nor does it have the funds required for the treatment of birds struck down with the virus.”
The minister, however, told the House that the Livestock Department recently provided 30,000 vaccines to cure ailing peacocks. “Some 5,000 vaccines have been received from the WWF-Pakistan to contain the viral infection.”
“An awareness campaign has also been launched in this respect. Besides, a high-level meeting of all stake-holders, including the Livestock Department, IUCN and WWF-Pakistan, took stock of the situation,” Essarani said while adding that the WWF-Pakistan had been tasked with ascertaining the actual cause of peacock deaths.
In his concluding remarks, the minister claimed that only 38 peacocks had died, while 30 others infected with the disease were being treated in Mithi.