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National bird count declining in Hyderabad

National bird count declining in Hyderabad
Highlights

It is believed that the city’s climate is conducive for peacocks and their population is thriving. Many reports have been published saying that from 2005, the peacock population is increasing by 10 per cent annually. However this isn’t the case. There were 4,600 peacocks in 2009 and the numbers reduced to 3,575 in 2011 which has further plummeted to the present 3,196.

Zoologists claim that the city’s population is conducive for peacocks to thrive. Yet, the population of the national bird has reduced from 4,600 to 3,196 in the last five years. These birds are falling prey to poachers. Apart from poachers, poisonous seeds and lack of water at protected forests are also the reasons for the decline in population

It is believed that the city’s climate is conducive for peacocks and their population is thriving. Many reports have been published saying that from 2005, the peacock population is increasing by 10 per cent annually. However this isn’t the case. There were 4,600 peacocks in 2009 and the numbers reduced to 3,575 in 2011 which has further plummeted to the present 3,196.

According to a survey by the forest department officials in 2009, the city used to have 19 km of forest area. As this area was being encroached, peacocks in the vicinity started moving towards adjoining villages only to fall prey to poachers and end up as exotic meat.

Peacock strolling at KBR Park (file photo)

Though the forest department officials claim to take all possible measures to ensure that the forest land is not encroached and the population of peacocks remain intact, the reality is far from it. Places like KBR Park, OU, UoH and protected forests like Harini Vanasthalipuram, Tatti Annaram and Chilukur Park are thriving grounds for peacocks. But the population at these places is gradually decreasing. Zoologists say that most of the peacock deaths do happen in summer, due to lack of water.

It costs up to Rs 1 lakh to construct water sumps and apart from Harini Vanasthalipuram and Chilkur Park, other centres don’t have dedicated water sumps for the animals. “We do not have permission to construct water sumps in other protected forests,” informed Ashok Kumar, curator, Hyderabad National Parks.

“Apart from the deaths in summer, peacocks die during the time when seeds are sown. Peacocks come to eat these and when they are consumed in large quantities, it becomes anesthetic, which is fatal to the bird,” informs Marreddy, inspected Harini Vanasthalipuram.

Poachers are the biggest threat to the national bird. There is a growing demand to the meat of the bird and reportedly poachers are paid in tens of thousands to procure the meat. Animal lovers blame inaction on the part of the forest department officials in curbing the activities. Refuting the charges, Nagabhushanam, deputy forest officer, Ranga Reddy rural, said, “We have constituted an anti-poaching squad to protect peacocks in forests. We are taking stringent action against the poachers.”

Number of peacocks in parks

Name of the park 2011 Present

KBR Park 650 456

Harini Vanasthalipuram 450 550

Chilukuru Park 375 210

Tatti Annaram 155 150

Osmania University 450 445

Uppal Outskirts 150 148

University of Hyderabad 250 247

Nehru Zoo Park 45 42

Shamshabad Farmlands 550 500

Near Ramoji Film City 500 448

Total 3575 3196

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