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20 tagged peacocks to be released in the wild for long-term study

The exercise will help monitor the movement, habits and health of the birds, and is the result of a captive breeding programme of the state government

gurgaon Updated: Feb 22, 2018 22:43 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Peacock,ringed birds,wing tag
According to official data, 145 peafowls were sick and 28 died in Haryana in the period between July and September 2012. (Parveen Kumar/HT File)

For the first time in Haryana, about 20 peacocks will be ringed and fitted with wing tags on Friday as part of the long-term study to be conducted on the species.

These peacocks will be released into their habitat at Rewari district by the wildlife department on Friday. The rings will be attached to one leg of the birds and each of them will have a unique identification number. Also, the tags on their wings will stay for several years and will help in tracking their movements and studying their food habits and health, officials of the wildlife department said.

The birds will be ringed and wing-tagged by the members of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), a non-governmental organisation engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.

“We will provide help in tagging and ringing the birds after which they will be released into their natural habitat. This exercise will help us study their movement and distribution pattern,” Bibhu Prakash, director, BNHS, said.

The move to ring and tag the peacocks is significant, as they are the result of a captive breeding programme launched by the state government in 2012.

The breeding programme was initiated with a view to preserve the species that comes under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The project was commissioned after a large number of peafowl in Haryana succumbed to the New Castle disease, wildlife department officials said.

According to official data, 145 peafowls were sick and 28 died in Haryana in the period between July and September 2012.

“In Haryana, the peafowl population had declined drastically due to an increase in infrastructure development and biotic interference. The other factors which posed an existential threat to the species are the changed cropping pattern, conversion of sandy-hills into the plain cultivated land, excessive use of chemical spray on crops and sowing of chemically treated seeds. As their numbers dwindled and sightings dropped and there was this fear that a persistent pattern of decline might put them at risk of extinction in Haryana, a captive breeding programme was launched,” Vinod Kumar, chief conservator of wildlife, south Haryana, said.

An 80-acre area was carved out of the total 750 acres in the Jhabua reserve forest for the captive breeding programme. The breeding centre is home to 61 peafowls and 28 chinkaras (Indian gazelles).

“The captive breeding was carried out in aviaries and the entire process was monitored with the help of security cameras. Even, chinkaras were similarly bred at the site. The species bred naturally and no artificial method was adopted,” Shyam Sunder Kaushik, divisional forest officer (wildlife), Gurgaon, said.

Apart from releasing the peacocks, the department will also conduct an awareness programme on wildlife at the centre. Around 50 students will participate in the programme.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 22:43 IST