Peacock – a bird that’s rare to find, but when found, one can’t help but gawk at their majestic and breath-taking beauty.
After all, how can one not hold their breath in awe, in the presence of such a strikingly handsome creature?!
But, why is it that this gorgeous species is so hard to find, even in Asia – the place they’re known to be native to?
We are always talking about their beauty, but then, why are they so hard to spot?
I’m afraid the answer might not be a pleasant one. The overall population of peacocks is on a decline – and it is as out of sorts as it can get.
Are peacocks endangered?
Peacocks have different subspecies – and one of them has been declared ‘Endangered’, and another one has been declared ‘Vulnerable’ on the list of Endangered Species.
How many subspecies of peacocks are there?
There are three subspecies of peacocks in the world –
- Indian peacock (or Blue peacock),
- Green peacock,
- Congo peacock.
Where are these subspecies found?
The Indian, or Blue peacock, as its name suggests, is native to India and can also be found in its neighboring countries.
Green peacock is native to Southeast Asia and can be found in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
Congo peacocks, on the other hand, can be found in African rainforests.
Which subspecies of peacocks are endangered?
At present, Green peacocks are categorized as Endangered Species, with their population being around 10000-20000 approximately.
Moreover, the Congo species of peacocks has now been placed under ‘Vulnerable’ in the list of Endangered Species. This means that even though Congo peacocks are not endangered yet, their number is on the decline as well.
The only species that is considered ‘safe’ or at the least amount of risk at present is the Indian or Blue peacocks
Which subspecies do white peacocks belong to?
Peacocks whose bodies and trains are purely white in color do exist. However, white peacocks are not a separate subspecies of peacocks.
They are simply those peacocks (usually Indian, or Blue peacocks) that mature all white – because of a genetic mutation causing leucism. It also needs to be noted that white peacocks are not albino either.
Albino animals have no color to their skin or hair, whereas white peacocks do have colored skin.
They are born yellow and turn white as they grow and mature. Moreover, their eyes are usually blue as leucism does not affect the color of their eyes.
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Where are white peacocks found?
Because Blue peacocks are native to India, white peacocks are most commonly found in India and its neighboring countries.
White peacocks are usually quite rare, so it’s not very common to find one easily.
Do albino peacocks exist?
Albino peacocks do exist and as we discussed earlier, they are different from white peacocks. However, albino peacocks are even rarer as compared to white ones.
Albino peacocks have red eyes, as a result of lack of pigment. It’s the color of the eyes that usually differentiates an albino peacock from a white one.
Are albino peacocks endangered?
Albino peacocks are usually extremely rare to be found, but they face the same issues as the rest of their species.
However, because albino peacocks are not a separate subspecies, they cannot be declared ‘Endangered’.
Why are peacocks endangered?
An increase in the human population has led to the conversion of a large amount of land, which has further led to the loss of habitat for several species of animals and birds. Peacocks are one such species.
Furthermore, hunting, smuggling, and predation have led to an alarming decrease in the number of peacocks over the years.
Be it for their meat, or their beautiful feathers, poaching of peacocks continues to be a disturbing issue.
Peacock feathers are widely used by masses for different purposes and hence, even with strict rules and regulations laid down by the government, a large number of people still pursue acts of violence against peacocks every year.
Related Read: How To Cope With The Loss Of My Pet Bird
Participation of government in the conservation of peacocks
Peacock was declared The National Bird of India in 1963 and it is protected under the Indian Wildlife Act, 1972.
This means that poaching, hunting, and smuggling of peacocks are considered criminal offenses. However, selling peacock feathers from natural shedding is still permitted.
A lot of poachers take advantage of this and capture peacocks for their feathers. While government regulations are strict, there is a need for citizens to step up and actively participate in the conservation of this majestic bird.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
It has been reported that with the joint efforts of IUCN and UNESCO, there have been significant improvements in the Salonga National Park in DR Congo, which is home to many Congo peacocks.
It was initially put under the list of ‘World Heritage in Danger’ but with the help of this joint mission, it is no longer on that list.
Several projects with the aim of conserving the endangered Green peacocks have been launched in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and Myanmar.
What steps do we need to take for the conservation of endangered peacocks?
Needless to say, following the rules and regulations set by the government should come in the first place. We know now that peacocks are poached mainly for their feathers.
You can always find someone who either likes to collect them or likes to use them for decoration.
Choose to encourage people to use only those feathers that are naturally shed. The more awareness you spread, the better it is.
There are several NGOs and private organizations that actively participate in taking steps in the conservation of this species.
You can always contact them and volunteer for help. Moreover, if you come across any poaching activity, report it to the nearest authorities. This is the absolute least that we can do to help conserve peacocks.
Beauty is said to be found in the eyes of the beholder, but there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t find peacocks beautiful.
But just like a flower is only beautiful until it has some life in it, we can only appreciate peacocks’ beauty as long as they continue to thrive on this planet.
Even if the most that you can do is start conversations around conserving peacocks, it is bound to bring improvements as it helps in spreading awareness among people.
It might seem like a small action, but it brings great rewards.