Peacock population soars in drought-prone Beed in Maha

Peacock population soars in drought-prone Beed in Maharashtra

The peacock population at the Naigaon Peacock Sanctuary (NPS) in the drought-prone Beed district of Marathwada region of Maharashtra has soared northwards. (DH Photo)

The peacock population at the Naigaon Peacock Sanctuary (NPS) in the drought-prone Beed district of Marathwada region of Maharashtra has soared northwards. 

Nearly a decade ago, the peafowl (peacocks and peahens) in the NPS, spread over 30 sq km, faced extreme heat and drought conditions. As a result, peafowl migrated elsewhere for food and water and many of them never returned.

The numbers dwindled to just around 2,500, but, over the past 10 years, the peacock population has grown to nearly 7,400.

Peacock, which is the national bird, is associated with several Indian mythological figures such as Lord Krishna, Lord Kartikeya or Lord Murugan. 

"We took a lot of efforts and this is what we could do," says Shahid Syed, the president of Mayur Mitra Mandal (MMM) and Sarpanch of Naigaon Gram Panchayat (NGP). The NPS in the Patoda tehsil of Beed district - was given a national park status in 1994.

"The problems start from February when water sources start drying up," he said, adding that nearly a decade ago, the villagers decided to do something.

"The MMM was formed, the NGP too started helping," Syed said. "People gave rice, wheat in the periphery of the NPS," he said, adding that people also took water in drums inside the sanctuary for the birds. The Sayed Madrasa Dargah in the village also helped in creating awareness.

There are around 15 to 20 villages around the sanctuary and a small dam located in Ukanda village, just four kilometres from NPS.  

According to Syed, there is a great wildlife tourism opportunity in Naigaon. "The villages, Forest Department, government and the tourism sector need to come together and have a detailed look at our example, and plan for future," he said, adding that besides peafowl, there are other flora and fauna in Naigaon.

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