Dying peacocks

Peacocks are known for their stunning beauty and grace­ful demeanour, captivating hearts with their vibrant feathers and el­egant dances. In the vast expanses of Tharparkar, Sindh, these majes­tic birds have long been cherished residents, adding to the natural splendour of the region. However, recent events have cast a shadow over this idyllic scene, as reports emerge of peacocks succumbing to a mysterious illness. Tharparkar, a region famed for its desert land­scapes and rich cultural heritage, is home to a significant popula­tion of peacocks, estimated at over 120,000 birds. Among them are both wild flocks and domesticat­ed birds kept as cherished pets by locals. In the past, the people of Thar demonstrated a strong com­mitment to conserving these pre­cious creatures, actively opposing illegal practices such as hunting and smuggling that threatened the peacock population.

The recent wave of deaths among peacocks in Tharparkar, particularly in villages like Pahn­ario in the Pillu Taluka of Nagar­parkar, has sent shockwaves throughout the community. Ac­cording to residents like Mr. Javed Samoon, Mr. Khamiso Khan Jhago­ro, and Darya Khan, the toll of the mysterious disease has been devastating, claiming the lives of more than two dozen peacocks in their village alone. This loss is keenly felt in a place where the bond between people and wild­life runs deep, and the presence of peacocks is intertwined with the fabric of daily life.

The exact cause of the illness plaguing the peacocks remains elusive, adding to the sense of ur­gency and concern. Both wild and domestic birds are affected, indi­cating the widespread nature of the threat. As grieving villagers mourn the loss of their beloved birds, they are also raising their voices in demand for action. They call upon the relevant authorities to intervene swiftly and decisive­ly to stem the tide of deaths be­fore it is too late.

In the poignant verses of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, the renowned poet of Sindh, echoes of the plight of the peacocks resound: “The lovely peacocks are all dead, not one swan remains. Crafty snipers once again inhabit my native land.” These words serve as a haunting reminder of the fragility of life and the urgent need for stewardship of the natural world. The fate of the peacocks of Tharparkar hangs in the balance, their once vibrant presence now overshadowed by the spectre of illness and death.

To avert further tragedy, con­certed efforts must be made to in­vestigate the root causes of the disease. Measures to protect vul­nerable populations must be im­plemented and communities must engage in conservation ef­forts. Time is of the essence, and decisive action is needed to en­sure that the iconic beauty of Tharparkar, embodied by its mag­nificent peacocks, continues to thrive for generations to come.



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