The sad tale of a peacock sanctuary

The peacock sanctuary at Bankapura in Shiggaon, Haveri district, has the rare distinction of having the highest number of peacocks in the State.

However, the sanctuary has to be content with just its distinction. The government, after declaring it a sanctuary six years ago, has not bothered to sanction funds for its development.

Except for the name board, the sanctuary, which was to be developed into a tourist spot, doesn’t even have boards giving details about the number of birds or the visiting hours. It also lacks watch towers. The thickets in the sanctuary can also aid illegal activity.

In 2006, the then deputy chief minister B S Yeddyurappa declared 139 acres and 10 guntas of Bankapura fort area a sanctuary to protect more than 3,000 of India’s national bird.

Yeddyurappa even went on to inaugurate the sanctuary. During the same time, the area was fenced to protect the birds from hunters and poachers. But after that, all the successive governments have neglected the sanctuary.

Low security
Though the fences, ravines and bushes have provided security to the peacocks to a certain extent, there is no elaborate security. The death of one or two birds is common. Barring the two guards appointed by the Kilari Cow Breeding Centre and the Forest department, there are no other security staff.

The peacock, which was under the threat of extinction, was declared the national bird by the Centre in 1963. Peacocks are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
“Though a memorandum is submitted to government every year through the Deputy Commissioner for sanctioning of funds, nothing has happened,” said Kilari Cow Breeding Centre Assistant Director Dr Parameshwara Nayaka.

A blueprint has been prepared for the all-round development of the sanctuary. Construction of four watch towers, installation of 10-foot high double-wired fences, small hanging bridges across ravines and eating facility for visitors have been proposed.

 It also includes repairing the roads, laying of the track path, construction of a fort-like structure for the compound and a two-way road till Hangal Cross from National Highway 4, he added. Nayaka said a memorandum had been submitted seeking the release of Rs five crore for the project even this year.

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