Bhopal: At a time when deaths of peacocks are regularly been reported from Rajasthan, a village in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh has set an example by emerging as the savior of the national birds through fulsome community effort.
The Basaniya village in Manasa block of MP’s Neemuch district houses more peacocks than the total headcount of human population in the village.
Against the total villagers headcount of 450-plus, the estimated population of peacocks in the village is presently between 500 and 600 – thanks to a movement by villagers started in 2012 to save the national bird from being poached by local Kanjar and Banchara tribes.
Be it the sweltering April-May heat, mighty June-July monsoon or else the biting December cold, hordes of peacocks are always spotted in the nook and cranny of the village, which is part of the Bagauri village panchayat.
Spanning from the clump of Khirni trees to the agricultural fields and from the primary school to the terrace and rooms of villagers, peacocks are all pervasive phenomenon that has made the obscure village famous in the region.
“Our village is blessed large clump of Khirni trees, which serve as the favourite haunt for peacocks. But before 2012, the Kanjars and Banchara community people living in adjoining villages often poached the peacocks resting on the trees. A meeting was convened by the residents of the village, including the Brahmins and the tribals, the two main castes forming the village population,” said village Sarpanch Rameshwar.
“At the meeting it was resolved that conserving the national bird will be the responsibility of every villager, after which a big movement to save the peacocks was started. We were then helped by the district administration which funded the setting up of a big shed and big water tank for feeding the peacocks,” said Rameshwar.
Since then the peacock population which was just 100-150 in 2012 has multiplied to 500-600. “Conserving the peacocks from poachers is the duty everyone in the village, right from school going children and housewives to men working in the agricultural fields,” said another villager Namdev.
Even the watchman in the village is not only tasked with guarding the houses from thieves in the night, but also keeps an eye on the possible poachers eyeing to kill the village’s rich possession of the big population of the national bird.
But conserving the national bird has not always been hunky dory for the residents of Basaniya. “They often destroy our coriander, soybean and wheat crop, many a times totally destroying it. But our resolve to protect them from poaching has never been compromised,” said the village sarpanch.
Importantly peacocks deaths have been reported many a times in adjoining Rajasthan, including the recent deaths of 23 birds (10 peacocks and 13 peahens) reported from the desert state’s Banswara district last week. Prior to that deaths of several peacocks and peahens was also reported from the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) in Alwar district of Rajasthan.