Over 10,000 pigeons have died due to a suspected bacterial infection in the last one month in Singtam in East Sikkim, according to animal husbandry officials. The number of dead birds could be more since the figure was an estimate given to the officials by local residents, the officials said.

The officials who visited the spot earlier this month have ruled out bird flu but suspect that a bacterial infection caused the deaths. Samples taken from the dead birds were being tested. The residents of the town are worried that the infection could spread to poultry birds if not controlled quickly.

Many claimed that insects had come out when the carcasses were dipped in disinfectant.

"More than a thousand birds have died from my pigeon pen. The chicks are also dying as soon as the eggs hatch. The animal husbandry department has to intervene and solve this problem immediately otherwise we fear there could be an epidemic," said Binoy Pradhan, a Singtam resident.