In a shocking incident, a large number of Indian peafowl have been found dead in an agricultural land in Kodikkulam near Kadachanendhal, Madurai on Saturday. According to reports, around 80 birds, consisting of Indian peafowl and quail, were found lying limp near a coconut grove in Madurai.
Farmers who spotted the dead birds immediately alerted the police and forest officials. Speaking to TNM, J Samartha, District Forest Officer, Madurai, said: â€ś43 peafowl are dead. Veterinary doctors who conducted post-mortem say the cause of death is poisoning. I am still waiting for the details."
Of the 43, nine were peacocks and 34 were peahens. Samartha ruled out poaching as a possibility, as the carcasses were still in the place of death.
â€śThere has never been a case where such a large number of peafowl deaths have been reported. There have been incidents where two or three deaths are reported, and those are usually natural deaths, road accidents, or electrocution. This is the first time that such a huge number have died," he said.
It is reportedly common for the birds to come to the fields in search of food during sowing season, which is also the time when farmers sprinkle pesticide.
Samartha said that the death could be due to poisoning from the insecticides and pesticides used in the fields nearby.
In May this year, 11 peafowl were found dead due to poisoning in Rajasthanâ€™s Nagaur district. They died after consuming poisoned grains. Around 23 peafowl were found dead in Rajasthanâ€™s Banswara district this year.
In 2016, a farmer in Tirupur was booked for allegedly poisoning 15 peacocks which led to their death.
The Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Animals and birds listed under Schedule I are provided absolute protection against hunting and commercial exploitation.