Kerala

Peacocks fall prey to pesticide-laced food

Bodies of peacocks recovered from a farm area at Valavadi, near Amaravathi, bordering the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki district. It is suspected that farmers fed the birds, which enter the fields, food laced with pesticide.

Bodies of peacocks recovered from a farm area at Valavadi, near Amaravathi, bordering the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Idukki district. It is suspected that farmers fed the birds, which enter the fields, food laced with pesticide.  

The incidents of peacocks dying in Tamil Nadu farm areas bordering the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary have raised concern among conservationists as farmers use pesticide to resist the birds’ intrusion into the cultivated areas.

The latest incident of 14 peacocks dying in a farm at Valavadi village in Amaravathi, close to the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary, brought to light the increased threat being faced by the bird population.

Natural habitat

The eastern part of the Western Ghats is the known natural habitat of peacock and rare animal species, including star tortoise and grizzled giant squirrels.

This unique environment comprising high elevated shola forest to low-lying rain-shadow areas, is a favourite region for wild animals and birds.

According to an official of the Munnar Wildlife Sanctuary, this is a unique ecosystem with a wide range of winged species and other living forms at a stretch of high elevation to the low elevated forest environment.

“There are birds seen in the highly-elevated forest and preferring low temperature moving across the area,” the official said.

In cultivated areas

Because of the free movement of the birds in the area, there are chances of birds entering into the cultivated areas.

The death of peacocks were once considered isolated cases.

Now it has been confirmed that pesticides were being used by farmers to prevent their intrusion into the cultivated areas.

Case registered

The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has taken a case against a farmer after it was confirmed in the post-mortem that the deaths were due to pesticide.

The main cultivation in the area are maize and sugarcane and the peacocks often come to the farms, destroying the crops.

This is said to be the provocation to give food-laced with the pesticide to peacocks.

Absconding

An official of the Palani Divisional Forest Office said the farmer who reportedly poisoned the peacocks was absconding.

Awareness needed to be created among farmers so that they desisted from such practices, he said.



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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 2:19:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/Peacocks-fall-prey-to-pesticide-laced-food/article16082785.ece

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