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Updated: April 23, 2012 15:47 IST

Protect the peacock

Sushma Karra
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Proud as a? Peacock. Photo:K.R. Deepak
The Hindu Proud as a? Peacock. Photo:K.R. Deepak

A recent peacock census revealed that measures to protect the peacock have increased their numbers.

Kasu Brahmananda National Park, popularly known as KBR National Park, in Jubilee Hills, is a haven for naturalists and bird watchers alike.

Spread over 142.50 hectares this park shelters 133 bird species in addition to other flora and fauna. KBR Park is incidentally a sanctuary for our National bird, the Indian Peafowl.

Did you know there is even a palace in the park, named Mor Palace (Peacock Palace) from the Nizam's era, which establishes the fact that peafowl has been abundant in this area.

Recently a peafowl census was conducted at the park by the volunteers from Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh (BSAP), along with the members of Great Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

This census was conducted because of the constant query from park visitors, “How many peacocks are there?” or sometimes the worried complaint of some visitors, “Last time we saw more peacocks, Sir. Are their numbers decreasing?”

Mr. Shafaat Ulla, the honorary secretary of BSAP says, “Participants were divided into 10 teams. Each team was assigned a particular route in the park and were accompanied by one forest guard. Four routes passed through the space in the park that is open to visitors. Rest of the routes covered areas which are part of the conservation zones.

These conservation areas are not accessible to visitors and like any National Park the Forest Department carries out its monitoring and conservation activities here.”

Other exotic animals

These enthusiastic birdwatchers spotted not just the peafowl but also many other exotic birds like Indian Silverbills (Lonchura malabarica), Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia), Spotted Owlets (Athene brama), Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava), etc. After two hours of intense peafowl counting session, the members got back to the starting point to share their findings with the rest of the group.

So what did the census reveal? “The final number of peafowl counted during the census stood at 136, out of which 56 were peahens, 75 peacocks and 5 juveniles. Route number 1, which was across the visitors' area, recorded maximum sightings of juveniles,” reveals Mr. Shafaat Ulla.

He says, “the peafowl population is probably increasing due to the prohibition of their hunting and also there are not many predators which feed on them. However, unless we do this exercise again next year we can not determine whether the peafowl population is increasing or decreasing.”

The peafowl is extremely crucial for our ecosystem as they feed on insects which may harm the crops, thus they help the farmers and keeping a check on the insect population.

Their population is threatened by poachers who poach these birds for feathers and meat.

Peafowl facts

Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) the male of the species (peacock) is more colourful than the female (peahen), with a glistening blue breast and neck and a spectacular bronze-green train of around 200 elongated feathers.

The female is brownish, slightly smaller than the male, and lacks the train. They were once bred for food but now hunting of peafowl is banned in India.

It is fully protected under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

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