In shocking news, as many as 43 peacocks were found dead at Mangalakudi near Kadachanendal in Madurai on Saturday morning. Police and Forest Department immediately came to the spot after this news and they suspect poisoning to be the actual cause of the deaths of peacocks- 34 female and nine male birds.
S. Arumugam, Range Officer, Madurai Wildlife Range, said that the peafowl may have consumed paddy grains mixed with poison on Friday night. However, a senior veterinarian who performed the post-mortem opened up that there is a link between the grains and the death.
“After interacting with locals, we found that the birds usually go for grazing around this area in the morning and return to their nests among coconut trees by about 6.30 p.m. every day. It is likely that some anti-social elements scattered the food on Friday evening. Preliminary reports suggest that the birds died on Friday night,” he said.
He further added that many birds had fallen to their death from a tree, causing a brain haemorrhage.
“We have taken 30 samples and will be sending it to the Forensics Department, Madras Veterinary College, and several other units for a detailed investigation,” he was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Mr. Arumugam also opened up that the Forest Department conducted further investigations on Saturday afternoon and it is learnt that few persons are suspected to be behind the incident. “Action will be taken only after the forensic reports are back in about 10 days,” he said.
Arumugam said that Peacock, the national bird, is protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and killing the bird is punishable under section 51(1-A) with imprisonment that may up to 7 years, and financial penalty. “Some people kill the birds intentionally. Others do it because they want to protect their insects and use heavy doses of insecticides. This does not look like an accident to me,” he said.
S. Pandiammal who has stayed a tad close to the birds for five years now, tells that they would feed food and water the birds every morning between 6:30 and 7 a.m. “The death is a huge loss for us because we would daily give them grains.
We even constructed a cement tank for them so that they could drink water through the day. If we do not feed the birds at the same time every day, several of them would gather in front of my house. The sight of the peacocks strutting around through the day was an unadulterated beauty. The incident has deeply affected me,” she said.