Sambhar: In a mysterious event, which has shocked locals, more than 1,500 migratory birds belonging to an estimated 15 species, were found dead in Rajasthan’s Sambhar Lake over the weekend. The episode has left villagers and people of the forest department baffled for the lack of a sensible explanation.

The dead birds include the Northern Shoveller, Brahminy Duck, Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover and Tufted Duck, among others.

While the cause of death is not known, officials suspect water contamination as one of the reasons while they wait for the viscera test reports.

“We estimate about 1,500 birds of about 10 species have died. We are also looking at other possibilities like toxicity of the water, bacterial or viral infection,” Forest ranger Rajendra Jakhar told PTI.

Meanwhile, another medical team from Jaipur has collected a few carcasses and water samples are being sent to Bhopal for further examination.

“There could be some sort of contamination in the water. The increased salinity of the water could also be another reason, as it increases salt concentration in the blood, which can further lead to slow blood flow and the internal organs like the brain may stop working,” nodal officer RG Ujjwal said.

Sambhar is India’s biggest inland saltwater lake, spreading between 190 to 230 sqkm and is located in Jaipur district of Rajasthan and attracts a host of migratory birds. The lake every year hosts approximately 2-3 lakh birds, which include about 50,000 flamingos and 1,00,000 wade.

This is the second such incident in the state within a week. Last Thursday, 37 demoiselle cranes were found dead in Jodhpur’s Khinchan area.