A large number of peacocks were found dead under suspicious circumstances in the Anaikkaradu forest area at Kaveriammanpatti village, Dindigul, on Monday.
While villagers put the number of dead birds at “more than 50,” Forest Department officials claimed that only 15 were found dead. The dead birds were found near some mounds in the forest.
Expressing shock over the development, villagers put the blame on farmers, who cultivated the land near these mounds, suggesting that they could have poisoned the birds to protect their crops.
Chinnathambi, a Kaveriammanpatti resident, spotted the carcasses near the mounds when he took out his sheep for grazing.
“I literary cried when I spotted the carcasses. Normally, when I used to come here with my cattle, I would here the calls of the birds. But, for the last two days I didn’t hear a sound. So I went in search of the birds on Monday and found the carcasses instead,” he said. Peacocks, which thrived in the Anaikkaradu forest area, often strayed into farmlands in search of food and water.
Farmers might have poisoned the peacock as they were proving to be a menace to them, according to social activist Arunsankar.
As the Forest Department did not make arrangements for water in the mounds, where these birds were usually found, the peacocks were forced to migrate to farm areas, he added. However, villagers who gathered near the carcasses, alleged that this was not the first time that farmers killed the birds.
“Earlier they used to kill in single digits, now it was in huge numbers,” claimed a villager. Forest officials claimed that only 15 peacocks were found dead.
“We have intensified the investigation with the farmers who have paddy and corn field near the spot. As we are uncertain about the reason behind the death of the birds, we have made arrangement for postmortem,” said Ottandurai forest officer Sundar Rajan. The officials also reiterated suspicion that the birds could have been poisoned by farmers.
Meanwhile, Kaveriammanpatti panchayat president S Vellaiswamy denied the charge that the birds were killed by farmers. “Hundreds of peacock and peahens live in the Anaikkaradu area. No such incident has occurred in the past,” he claimed.