Is it easier to kill a species that is not the most attractive looking? It certainly seems so as reports come in of the death of 20 greater adjutant storks from Assam’s Deepor Beel Santuary. The birds, one of the rarest storks in the world, were found at a site near the Guwahati Municipal Corporations garbage dumping site. It is believed that they could have been poisoned.

Image via The Hindu

Image via The Hindu

This is not the first time that the storks have been found dead in high numbers in the Deepor Beel area. In 2007, 9 birds were killed. While the reason for the present deaths could be due to the intake of something poisonous from the garbage pile, deliberate attempt to kill the birds cannot be eliminated unless post mortem reports appear.

Read More: Man Made Wetland Becomes Haven For Birds

Apart from the 20 stork carcasses that were recovered, 3 birds were also found in critical condition.

Why 20 Deaths Is A Very High Number

The Greater Adjutant Stork is also popularly referred to as the mythical Jatayu bird that bravely fought ravan and tried to rescue Sita from him. Sadly, the bird is now surrounded by ravans of all kinds in the modern world where each one is trying to harm the bird. Once widespread across south Asia, the stork in now only found in limited numbers in Assam, Bihar and sparsely in Combodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and Nepal. The numbers of these birds are decreasing at a very high rate.

It is believed that only about 1200 of storks live today of which approximately 800 are found in Assam alone. A loss of 20 birds at once is therefore a marked blow to the population of the entire endangered species.

The birds are scavengers and therefore dumping sites are an important feeding ground for them. If the birds have to be saved, it has to be ensured that they have a safe feeding ground, a safe breeding ground and enough wetland area as well as trees to survive. It is not just the magnificent tigers and the majestic elephants that need protection. The lesser know, and the less attractive species too need your attention to remain safe.

Read More: From Loathed To Loved, Villagers Rally To Save Greater Adjutant Stork

About Atula Gupta

Atula Gupta is the Founder and Editor of Her work has appeared in a number of international websites, dailies and magazines including The Wire, Deccan Herald, New Indian Express, Down to Earth and Heritage India on issues related to environment and its conservation. She is also the author of Environment Science Essentials, a set of books for school children. She hopes this website provides a platform for people to be aware about species in the verge of extinction and heighten their conservation efforts.

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