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Peacocks at Mumbai Parsi colony stump residents

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Residents say that they immediately rang the animal welfare officers upon spotting the birds

In an unusual sighting for the city, a pair of peacocks — a male and a peahen — was spotted by residents of Dadar Parsi Colony on Tuesday around 10am.

“There have been no reports of peacocks in this area for decades. As long as we have been living here, this is the first time a peacock, more so a pair, has been spotted,” said Nikhil Desai, a resident Dadar Parsi Colony and member of the ALM. “The birds were first spotted near the agairy (Parsi temple) within the colony, which is surrounded by trees. They later flew to the roof of one of the buildings.”

The national bird, peacock is protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. In Mumbai, these birds have been spotted at Raj Bhawan, Malabar Hill, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and areas surrounding areas of Yeoor and Thane.

Other residents said that they immediately rang the animal welfare officers upon spotting the birds. “I saw one of the birds from my window. I couldn’t belive my eyes that it was a peacock,” said Katie Bagli, another resident. “Worried that it could be in distress, I informed an animal welfare officer and asked him to rescue the bird.”

Bird rescuers claimed the peacocks had travelled from Raj Bhavan in Malabar Hill, which is home for nearly 20 peacocks. “I tried rescuing the birds, but they were sitting on on tall tree. We have asked the residents to inform us if these birds come down from their perches. We will rescue and release them at SGNP,” said Murlidhar S Jadhav, animal welfare officer from Ghatkopar

However, experts from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) said peacocks cannot fly this far.

“It is definitely an unusual sight, but if they have actually come from Raj Bhavan or even SGNP, then somebody would’ve identified their movement. The other possibility is they might have escaped after being kept confined,” said Deepak Apte, director, BNHS. “While this bird is not endangered, their population is declining in India because of pesticide related mortalities.”

He said city-based monitoring of the peacocks and a detailed survey to identify the factors threatening their survival was the need need of the hour.

Peacock death in April
Animal welfare officers from south Mumbai said this was not the first time that peacocks have ventured into residential areas. On April 30 , residents of Grand Paradi bungalow, Peddar Road, informed animal welfare officer Anuj Khanvilkar about a peacock that had entered one of the bungalows. “When I reached the spot, I found that the bird had already died. In such situations, the protocol is to inform the forest department, as it is a schedule 1 species. The forest department collected the bird’s body,” said Khanvilkar.

He added that there are several threats to the bird at Raj Bhawan. “There is a growing population of mongoose that has been eating their eggs and street dogs chase the birds. If these two aspects are controlled, their habitat can be safeguarded.”

Published on Hindustan Times