Jaipur: Avian botulism, a bacterial disesase was the reason behind the deaths of over 18,000 birds in and around Rajasthan’s Sambhar lake, the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, said in a report released on Thursday.

”Avian botulism is the cause of the death of domestic and migratory birds in the Sambhar Lake. This has been confirmed by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute of Bareilly, whose report was received on Wednesday,” state Animal Husbandry Minister Lalchand Kataria said.

The avian botulism that caused the mass death at Sambhar was caused by the climate, according to the IVRI report. Botulinum is a natural toxin produced by a bacteria known as Clostridium botulin and commonly found in the soil, river, and sea water.

The minister also said the report had proved that the steps taken by them to control the death of birds and the treatment given to them was in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was monitoring the situation and had held several meetings with various departments in this regard. The CM also urged the central government to look into the matter and stressed the need to protect forests and the wildlife.

We need to protect rare species such as Great Indian Bustard (Godawan) and Kharmore bird to maintain the ecological balance. The state government will provide every possible resource for this,” Gehlot said.

More than 18,000 migratory birds belonging to an estimated 15 species, were found dead in Rajasthan’s Sambhar Lake over the last few weeks. 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.

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.