Unesco's world heritage site in northern Senegal turned into a gruesome graveyard last Saturday when 750 pelicans were found dead, according to the country's parks director.
Hundreds of pelican carcasses
The site provides refuge for a variety of migratory birds every year. The massive flock of dead birds were found by rangers in theDjoudj bird sanctuary that is located in a remote pocket of wetlands near the border with Mauritania that also serves as a resting place for birds that cross the Sahara into west Africa.
The news broke out when an unverified video published on local media unveiled the dead bodies of hundreds of pelicans scattered throughout a beach located in the sanctuary. Senegal's parks director, Bocar Thiam, spoke out following the incident by saying:
We took some samples for screening and we hope in the near future to know what caused the death of the pelicans.
Interestingly enough, the sanctuary is a transit place that hosts about 350 species of birds annually, but only pelicans were found dead. 740 were juvenile pelicans while 10 were adults.
What is the cause of death?
So far, no official cause of death has been confirmed, but authorities have since closed the park and ordered the incineration of the dead birds as a precautionary measure.
Some experts have theorized that perhaps there is a link between the reported outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu on a poultry farm in the Thies region that is located just 120 miles south, which resulted in the culling of about 100,000 chickens.