The investigation into the death of 43 peafowl in Mangalakudi village near Madurai continued for the second day on Sunday. S. Arumugam, Range Officer, Madurai Wildlife Range, said officials visited the spot, interacted with local residents and understood the topography of the area before started questioning people.
The spot where the incident took place was government
land, he said. The trees where the peafowl seemed to have taken refuge were grown on this land. A channel that led to Uthangudi tank flowed through Mangalakudi area. It was along this channel that clumps of grains laced with poison were found over a stretch of one kilometre, Mr. Arumugam said.
He said preliminary investigations pointed to the poison-laced paddy found in the gut, digestive tract and crop of the birds being the cause of their death. “We found an unusual amount of paddy strewn across the channel. The locals too confirm that the grains were not there before the death of the peafowl. However, since the issue has garnered national attention, the answers from the local people are vague. We will henceforth conduct discreet enquiries,” he said.
The Range Officer said there were not many agricultural farms in the surroundings and only two farmers had begun sowing paddy in Mangalakudi. All the farmers used insecticides to protect their crops. “The chemicals maybe the cause of the death. However, this seems like a deliberate attempt to kill the birds,” he said. He said the cause of the mass death could be ascertained only after forensic reports arrived in one week’s time.
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