Australians split over plans to trap urban peacocks

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image copyrightCraig Tuttle
image captionA thing of beauty, or a downright pest?

The Australian capital is proposing a new law to deal with its increasingly problematic feral peafowl population, it's reported.

According to the Canberra Times, the ACT government is proposing an annual trapping programme to prevent the bird population from spreading further outside of the city of Canberra.

The local traffic authority says that peacocks have become disruptive to the local ecosystem, competing with native birds for habitat, as well as disturbing local vegetation.

The paper adds that they have been the cause of continuous complaints from residents dating back to 2003, and have also caused drivers to have a number of near-accidents.

It says that they have become such a common sight, that one local found a male peacock in his bathroom staring at itself in the mirror.

'Part of the community'

Australia's growing peacock population has been well documented by the country's press.

And Canberra is not the first area to have introduced new laws in an attempt to reduce the country's growing peafowl population.

The Brisbane Times highlighted in January that the authorities in the city of Brisbane were set to ban residents from keeping the birds as pets, or else face fines of up to $6,300 Australian dollars (£3,439; $4894).

It said the local council had similarly received numerous complaints, particularly about the birds' noise - especially during breeding season - and damage to their properties.

Not everyone regards the birds as a pest, however. Both proposed laws have been heavily criticised by activists and locals alike, with some saying that the birds are a welcome sight.

One Canberra resident, Mr DeVan, told the Canberra Times: "At night, you'll often see half a dozen peacocks up on the roof, watching the sun set and the little kids all run around, picking up their feathers. They're part of the community."

Indian peafowl are native to South Asia, but have been introduced by colonial travellers to countries all around the world over the last two millennia. They were originally brought over to Australia by the British as pets, but in many countries have become feral and are known to be able to adapt to both warm and cold climates.

Reporting by Kerry Allen

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