Second census to clear air on threat to peafowl in state
The first census, conducted last December in the state, showed maximum number of peafowl in Jodhpur district of western Rajasthan. Barmer district has the second highest peafowl population. Before this exercise, a peacock census was conducted in the Sariska National Park in 2001.Updated: Jun 07, 2018 22:06 IST
Poisoning of nine peafowl in Nagaur district and death of 23 in mysterious circumstances in Banswara district within one week raise concerns about threat to the bird species in Rajasthan.
Has peafowl population in Rajasthan decreased? Bird lovers will have to wait for the answer till next year when the second peafowl census will be conducted.
The first census, conducted last December in the state, showed maximum number of peafowl in Jodhpur district of western Rajasthan. Barmer district has the second highest peafowl population. Before this exercise, a peacock census was conducted in the Sariska National Park in 2001.
A peafowl is a large crested pheasant found mainly in Asia. The male species are called peacocks, females peahens, and young birds less than a year old are known as peachicks. Collectively they are known as peafowl, regardless of age or gender.
“Peafowl were counted for the first time in the state with a scientific method in December last year. Now after the next census, the change in peafowl population will be determined,” a senior forest officer said on condition of anonymity.
According to the census report, Jodhpur district has 95,170 peafowl -- 35,945 peacocks, 45,484 peahens and 13,741 young birds. Barmer district accounts for 87,001 peafowl. Jaisalmer district records the lowest population of the bird species at 23,557.
Of the total 3,43,869 peafowl, 1,26,015 are peacocks, 1,55,281 peahens and 62,573 young birds in western Rajasthan that comprises Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Pali, Sirohi and Jalore districts.
“There were apprehensions about the number of peafowls before the first census was conducted. Poaching for feathers and meat, poisoning by farmers to prevent crop damage, habitat destruction and mortality due to chemical fertilisers were considered as threats to the existence of the bird species,” the senior officer said.
Chief conservator of forest (wildlife) RS Shekhawat said, “Peafowl has an important role in our eco system. Counting of peafowl was long overdue. The census gave a correct picture of peafowl presence in the state. Necessary efforts will be made to protect them.”
Indian peafowl (pavo cristatus), the national bird of the country, has been listed in the Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, necessitating the highest degree of protection against hunting. Capture of and trade in the bird is prohibited under law. According to the Red List data published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), peacocks (pavo cristatus) are listed as “least concern”. This means the species do not qualify as threatened or near threatened.