KARACHI – Refuting the media reports citing locals as having put the number of peacocks killed in Tharparkar in the past two weeks around 50, the Sindh Wildlife Department on Wednesday insisted that only nine birds died of a mysterious viral infection and due to the drought since July 18. Wildlife Secretary Mushtaque Ahmed Memon told a group of reporters that a team from the department, during its visit to Thar, discovered that the drought and a viral infection became reason for the deaths of wild birds. He also said that two officials, found negligent, had been placed under suspension in this respect. Memon, after presiding over a meeting held to take stock of the situation in desert area, said the department had taken precautionary measures, under which anti-biotic medicines were being distributed (to locals) for treatment of peacocks infected by the viral infection. The secretary said that Thar, Badin, Sanghar and Umerkot districts, where peacocks exist in large numbers, had been put on high alert to save birds from the disease. He added that an anti-virus spray would be carried out in all these districts.Memon also said that a high-level committee had been formed to ascertain the actual cause of the deaths of peacocks. It may be noted here that more than 50 peacocks have died in Thar, but Sindh Minister for Wildlife Dr Daya Ram has not taken a single notice, nor does he called any meeting to look into the facts.