Theres a peacock in my balcony!

  • 22/02/2008

Buy a home in Shahibaug and get peacocks for free! This is one of the USPs listed in those glossy realty brochures. Imagine having the national bird perch on the balcony of your high-rise apartment and peck at chapatis. The similar sight of a langur though may not be that inviting. But a census conducted by urban wildlife in Ahmedabad shows that the city is home to over 4,000 peafowls and over 2,000 langurs. So adapted has the peafowl become to urban infrastructure that it can now nest on rooftops, weather sheds and corners of gardens. As for langurs, they have learnt to cross the road, without getting their tail under speeding wheels! This was revealed during a population estimation carried out by the forest department in various parts of the city. The estimation also revealed that both langurs and peafowl have adapted to food eaten by humans. Officials involved in the population estimation say that in the census conducted in 1998 there was just 1,500 peacocks in the city, but in 2004 they had risen to 4,193 peacocks, a record growth of 280 per cent. And now it could have risen even further. The 2004 survey also revealed that the city also had a good number of wild animals like civets, mongooses, fruit bats and white backed vulture. The city was demarcated into five zones covering an area of 220 sq km. The Walled City area, which is congested and barely has green patches had 41 per cent of the peafowl inhabiting in it, besides the cantonment area in Shahibaug. Western parts of the city, which are also the posh areas, reported around 1,500 peafowl. Officials doing the survey also received complaints of the menace this urban wildlife had become, although there is a section of the city which follows a tradition of feeding these wild animals. Many times, peahens which usually nest on treetops were found nesting on rooftops or garages. Deputy conservator of forest, Amit Kumar said that the wildlife in the city is migratory by nature. "Whenever the area inhabited by these wildlife is used for construction, they migrate to another place where there is greenery around.' He said that food is one factor which is also keeping these animals within the city limit. Chief conservator of forest, (research) HS Singh says, "The animals in the city usually have a sense of security which they do not have in the jungle. Wild cats and leopards are a threat to the peacock. Monkeys also find themselves secure and have adapted themselves to the human environment and their eating habits.' CHANGE OF NATURE 66 pc of peacocks found in city are in their natural habitat, 19 pc in industrial zone and only 15 pc in residential areas. Peafowl and Langurs are used to noise, air pollution and human activities Peahens have adapted to new nesting sites like rooftops, weater sheds, corners of gardens. Langurs have developed a sense of cautiousness while negotiating traffic on the road.