STAFF REPORT IBD: The threat to wildlife is get worse as dozens of more wild peacocks have died in Pakistan desert, Sindh, apparently due to the outbreak of the highly contagious Newcastle disease rising the death toll of peacocks to over 100.

The Wildlife Ministry said that the tests are being done to diagnose the cause of these death, but said the wild peacocks had been weakened by starvation, deforestation and a lack of safe drinking water blamed on delays to the annual monsoon rains.

“Wild peacocks have become susceptible to bacterial and fungal attack, which further suppressed the immunity of the birds that paved the room for viral attack,” it said.

“We are vaccinating wild peacocks protectively for suspected viral disease, as in 2003 when a few peacocks died from the same symptoms that later proved to be ranikhet,” said Lajpat Sharma, an official in the Provincial Wildlife Ministry.

Tahir Qureshi of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also told the media that he suspected ranikhet is to blame.

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