Formal, national census on Indian peafowl soon: Official

Kolkata: The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore will soon begin a national census on the Indian peafowl, the national bird of the country, its director said here on Friday. "Peafowl is our national bird but we don't know its status and population in the country. So we are going to start an all-India coordinated 'national bird of India' project. It will be the first, formal census. We will focus on distribution, population and the conflict issues," K. Shankar, SACON director, told IANS. The organisation will co-ordinate with Zoological Survey of India for the census. Earlier, the Wildlife Institute of India had conducted an initial survey. Shankar, who was appointed as the centre's director in March this year, said human-peafowl conflict in Tamil Nadu is a major issue with the farmers in the state. "We will also conduct the third Sarus crane census in India," he said, adding one of the reasons for decline of the population could be use of pesticides like DDT in agricultural fields. To further education in conservation, Shankar said a Masters in Ornithology and Conservation is being launched by the centre, a first in the country.