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Bankapur's peacocks call for help

July 23, 2012, M R Manjunath
Beautiful plumage: The peacock takes pride of place in the avian community and has two sanctuaries in the State, one at Adichunchanagiri and the other in Haveri districtís Bankapur. Photo by the author

Their role in the grand scheme of things in nature is immense. Birds not only act as scavengers, they are also important as pollinators and are farmers’ best friends, often feeding on insects that tend to attack crops.

The peacock, of course, takes pride of place in the avian community. The national bird has two sanctuaries in the State, one at Adichunchanagiri and the other in Haveri district's Bankapur fort. What is now cause for worry for conservationists is that these peacocks are not being protected the way they should be at Bankapur.

Farmers’ worry


On the other hand, farmers in the nearby region are worried that the birds are feeding on their crops. In an unfortunate incident, as many as eight dead peacocks were found at Hulikatti village, a mere eight kilometres from Bankapura peacock sanctuary.

The bird sanctuary is close to the national highway, and is 22 km from Haveri. It is now six years since it was created in the 139 acres of land that also has the remains of the Bankapur fort.

The sanctuary has over 6,000 peacocks. After the sanctuary has come into being, not much has gone into its development.

No special grants have been released by the government to protect the birds here, either. A lot of trees in the region are constantly used for firewood too. The natural forest here is slowly turning into a concrete jungle. Also, the region surrounding Bankapura has many tracts. There is also a cattle breeding centre in the vicinity. The cattle from here are let out to graze in the sanctuary area. Forest Department officials have brought the matter to the notice of the government, but not to much avail.

Because rain has failed the region, birds are setting out in search of food and are eyeing crops. Farmers seem to have taken retaliatory action.

Also, peacocks are known to be poached because of the belief that they have medicinal properties. It is time some action is taken to restore the peacock to its glory in nature's scheme, before they perish.

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