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Maha govt ropes-in Trust to conserve peacocks in Raj Bhawan


Mumbai : Alarmed at the dwindling number of peacocks in the sprawling Raj Bhawan at Malabar Hill in south Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has entrusted the task of the national bird’s conservation to the Dorabji Tata Trust.

The trust, through Mumbai-based NGO MYVTES charitable trust and research centre, has assured the government that the peacock population in the Raj Bhawan premises will be restored, state Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said.

He said following reports in a section of the media on the decreasing number of peacocks in the sylvan surroundings of Raj Bhawan, he along with Governor C Vidyasagar Rao took a tour of the premises along with experts.

“Earlier, the Raj Bhavan premises was known to have snakes and in order to control them mongooses were brought in. Once the snakes were wiped out, the mongooses turned towards feeding on eggs of the peacocks, leading to their numbers dropping alarmingly low,” Mungantiwar said.

The NGO has assured the government that conservation efforts would help in the peacock population rise to 50, from the current 15.

Raj Bhavan, the Maharashtra Governor’s official residence, is known for the presence of several peacocks and peahens on its sprawling campus.

Over the past three years, the tree-lined estate has been swamped with hundreds of mongooses. They attack, eat and destroy eggs laid by peahens.

The over 200-year-old Raj Bhavan property, surrounded on three sides by the sea, is one of the major green spots in the city, with 6,000 trees. The Grade-I heritage precinct is rich in flora and fauna.

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