Owner of agro tourism farm claims the birds came to his property on their own; officials also rescued two turtles
The owner claimed he put the birds in an enclosure to protect them from dogs
Found guilty of illegally keeping a peacock and two peahens on display to make money, the owner of an agro-tourism resort has claimed that he did not capture the birds, but they came to his property on their own. Peacock, India's national bird, is protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and it's illegal to keep it in confinement.
Two turtles were rescued from the farm
On Monday, acting on a tip-off from animal welfare activist Vaishali Chawan, the Dahanu forest division raided Samarth Krupa Agro Tourism Farm located at Shirgaon in Palghar district and rescued the three birds along with two turtles – one of which is a star turtle – both of which are protected under the wildlife law.
Where will they go?
“The birds and the turtles were safely rescued and taken to the Forest Department rescue centre in Dahanu,” said S Pol, assistant conservator of forest (Dahanu forest division).
Forest officials are now considering releasing the birds in their natural habitat, but there is some doubt about their survival in the wild, since they have been hand-raised and fed by humans all this time.
On Tuesday, the forest department has registered a case against the proprietor of the farm, Vijay Mali. He is being interrogated and is likely to be arrested. “We called the owner of the resort for questioning and registered a case against him under Sections 2, 9, 39 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act,” added ACF Pol.
The other side
“It is true that the forest department has found peacock and peahens on my farm, but I did not keep them by force. In December 2015, the peacock came to our farm after it was injured by a dog. I ensured treatment for the peacock, after which it started roaming on my 15-acre property,” said Mali.
He added, “In the monsoon, two peahens also came to our farm due to the callings of the peacock. As they were at risk of being attacked by dogs, we made a big enclosure for the birds. I had no intention of putting them on display for money. Whatever I did was with a good intention; had I been aware that it is illegal to keep peacocks, I would not have done so.”
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