Peafowls at Choolannur Sanctuary in Palakkad
A fortnight has gone by since Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court courted controversy with his remark that peahens get pregnant after gulping tears of peacocks.
The statement has an unexpected beneficiary Kerala’s lone peafowl sanctuary at Choolanur in Palakkad District.
Hitherto little know even inside Kerala, the park now sees a large number of visitors from within and outside the State. All they want to know is how the country’s national bird reproduces.
Home to over 300 peafowl’s and spread in 3.42 sq.km, the park, located near Alathur here, was established in 2007 as a memorial to ornithologist Induchoodan, alias K.K.Neelakandan, who hailed from nearby Kavassery. “The sanctuary has remained low profile all these years. It attracted hardly half a dozen visitors till the judge made the remark. Since then, there is an increased flow of visitors to the sanctuary, one of the few exclusive homesteads fo the national bird, said forester T.G.Babu.
“At least 200 people have been visiting the sanctuary daily in the past one week. Now we have an additional task of clearing their doubts on the reproductive behavior of peafowl.’ said M.Surendran, a guard at the sanctuary.
“During courtship, peacocks spread their tail feathers in a fan like shape and strut about. The aid is to attract the peahen. They mate like other birds, “Mr. Babu was seen explaining to visitors.
“Peahens make their nests in scrub vegetation. The peahens raise the young ones on their own without the help of the mate ,” he says.
Vital for ecosystem
The peafowl population is probably increasing due to the prohibition on their hunting. Also there are not many predators which feed on them. The peafowl is extremely crucial for our ecosystem as they feed on insects which harm crops. Thus they help farmers’, says environmentalist S.Guruvayurappan.
The sanctuary without any side walls, is free from poachers threats.
“For breeding a peahen needs a secluded vegetated area which the sanctuary provides. The bird makes a nest on the ground. To make it an haven for the national bird, we are keeping most areas of the sanctuary semi wild. We have also launched a feeding programme for peafowl’s,’ said Mr.Babu.