Belief that sighting brings `good luck , helps boom in peacock population in Odisha s Pakidi hills

Berhampur (Odisha), Jun 18 (PTI) As monsoon clouds Loom over the lush-green Pakidi hills, a boom in the local peacock population has seen droves of peacocks and peahens descend on villages and highways in this picturesque area in Odisha’s Ganjam district.

The national bird has thrived and its population has increased over the past few years, partly because of the lockdown and partly as villagers in the area have helped protect and feed peacocks, believing they bring `good luck.

The population of the national bird in the area has grown manifold to around 2,000 over the last few years, Ghumusar South Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Satya Narayan Behura said.

The peacock population in the hill area has increased due to the involvement of local people in their protection, he added. Aska Forest Range Officer P K Sahu explained that villagers around Pakidi hill help protect the birds even though they often eat standing crops, as they believe sighting peacocks brings good luck.

The villagers of Sobhachandrapur, Ambuabadi, Kerikerijhola, Bharatapalli, Cheramaria, Sameiguda and Karnoli are credited with helping peacock flocks by allowing them to co-exist with humans.

Good forest cover in the hill area and lack of forest fires are also some of the reasons for an increase in their population in the area, officials added..

As the air and noise pollution levels came down because of the lockdown, many peacocks started coming out on the roads too, Behura added.

The villagers have also constituted a committee to protect them. The committee had received the prestigious Biju Patnaik Award for Wildlife Conservation, the highest award in the state for protecting the wildlife, for its effort to conserve the national bird habitat in 2006.

“We have created awareness among the people about the importance of the protection of the birds in the area regularly,” Sameer Pradhan, the president of the peacock protection committee, said.

The villagers are not only protecting them from the poachers, but also feed them and set up water pots near the village during summer for their drink, Pradhan said.

“As their population increased manifold, some of the birds have now migrated to other areas like Bandhaguda and Baramundali,” he said.

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