Wildlife dept steps in to save the national bird
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, June 18, 2012

Alarmed by the death of more than a dozen peacocks at Hasanpur village due to heat stroke, the wildlife department has rolled up its sleeves and deputed two guards to monitor the situation.

The guards have been told to keep an eye for disease symptoms like limping and vomiting.
They have been ordered to promptly rush the ill birds to veterinary hospital. Apart from that, they have been told to sensitise the villagers on frequently changing water in pots kept outside their homes and not to offer unwashed grains to the birds as it may have pesticides.

"The guard themselves change water twice a day (11am and 4pm) so that the birds get fresh water to drink. The villagers have been advised not to offer grains to peacocks unless it is done in the supervision of wildlife officials. We have separated washed grains and advised the elderly villagers to offer only those to peacocks," said wildlife inspector Kanwar Pal.

A team of doctors and wildlife officials had visited Hasanpur - located on the foothills of the Aravali near Gurgaon -- on Wednesday. The doctors had sensitised the villagers on how deforestation and mining have deteriorated the natural habitat of birds and the present baking weather has rendered them completely helpless. Meanwhile, one more peacock was found to be suffering from heat stroke on Saturday.

The bird was sent to the animal care centre at Gopalpur on Pataudi road where it has been showing good signs of recuperation, said officials.

Five birds that were taken to the veterinary hospital at Sadrana near the Sultanpur lake are also showing good signs of recovery.

"We will wait till monsoon to bring the birds back to their natural habitat in the hills," said a wildlife official. It is feared that more birds could be victims of heat stroke. The peacocks -- being large in size -- are traceable but carcasses of smaller birds are difficult to spot in the hills.

Peacock is India's national bird. It is protected under schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.