BHOPAL: At a time when peacock deaths are regularly being reported from Rajasthan, a village in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh has set an example by emerging as the saviour of the national birds through fulsome community effort.
Residents of Basaniya village in Manasa block of MP’s Neemuch district started a movement in 2012 to save the national bird from being poached by local tribes. Thanks to their efforts, the peacock population in the village has now risen to 500-600, which is higher than the human headcount that stands at about 450.“Our village is blessed clumps of Khirni trees, which serve as the favourite haunt of peacocks. Before 2012, people of Kanjar and Banchara communities living in adjoining villages often poached the peacocks resting on the trees. So, 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 Rameshwar, sarpanch of Basaniya.
“At the meeting, it was resolved that conserving the national bird will be the responsibility of every villager. We were helped by the district administration which funded the setting up of a big shed and water tank for feeding the peacocks,” he added.
The efforts bore fruit as the number of peacocks, which was just 100-150 in 2012, has multiplied. “Conserving the peacocks from poachers is the duty everyone in the village, from schoolchildren and housewives to men working in the agricultural fields,” said Namdev, another villager.
Even the village watchman is tasked with guarding not only the houses in the night, but also keeping an eye on the poachers.
The villagers’ effort to save the peacocks costs them dearly. “They often destroy our coriander, soybean and wheat crops. But our resolve to protect them from poaching has never been compromised,” said the sarpanch.