VILLUPURAM: You may call it poaching, hunting or mass elimination of a vermin. But forest and police officials are yet to come to a conclusion on the mystery deaths of 20 peacocks near Vanur here though they have begun a probe.
A source from Vanur said that poachers from Puducherry were entering the forest and farmlands near Puducherry borders, and hunting animals like spotted deer, wild boar, hare and birds.
This especially takes place during weekends, and hunted animal meat is being sold to bars and restaurants in Puducherry, to be served as special items to customers there.
Such meat is also sold in many places of Puducherry including Villianur, alleged the source.
According to sources, people passing through the farmlands of Sundaramorthy, Ezhumalai and Amburar at Kondalangkuppam near Vanur, found peacocks lying dead across the farmlands. They informed this to the Vanur police, who rushed to the spot and collected 20 carcasses of the birds.
Meantime, bird welfare activists from Puducherry visited the spot and they also helped the police trace out the peacock carcasses which were found strewn around in nearby farms.
Then, they informed to forest department officials in Tindivanam, and a team of forest department officials led by Range Officer, M Arumugam, rushed to the spot and inspected the carcasses.
Later, veterinarians from Nemili were summoned and they conducted an autopsy on the spot, and subsequently the carcasses were buried in a nearby forest area. Forest officials inspected the spot, and found some groundnuts in the paddy fields, and have taken them for lab test.
"We suspect that they were killed by some unidentified persons, and we are enquiring to establish their identity, how the birds were killed, and for what they were killed," said Arumugam.
He added that they were also enquiring with farmers around if anyone would have poisoned them to save their crops.
Meantime, forest welfare activist Sakthivel from Puduchery, told Express that they suspect that it could be the handiwork of some farmers who placed poison-mixed groundnuts in the farm lands, as there had been complaints of peacocks feeding on paddy grains in crops cultivated in the locality.
He also added that usually peacocks are seen near forest areas, but here, a huge number peacocks were seen on farmlands. Now, most of them have been killed in this incident. The activists also lodged a complaint with the Puducherry police seeking action against the sale of products made using peacock feathers, as the bird is the country's national bird.
Though Tamil Nadu forest officials are taking efforts to stop the poaching, due to non-cooperation from Puducherry officials, Puducherry hunters enter Tamil Nadu limits and escape with the hunted animals. Just for an eye wash, Puducherry officials arrest some Narikuravas and book them, while in reality, many persons with political support are involved in the poaching.