When a wild animal enters a human habitat it is man-animal conflict. When a feathered animal enters it becomes man-animal camaraderie.
Kotagiri and its surroundings have been of late getting frequent visits by peahens, though peacocks are yet to be sighted. These birds have been sighted in Badaga keries (village courtyards) in Kannerimukku, Jakkanarai and elsewhere in the past few days drawing the curiosity of the local people. One peahen landed right on the roof of Nilgiri Documentation Centre and after some contemplation flew off into the nearby woods.
Peacocks have long been found in the low lands and slopes of Nilgiris. They are said to survive in altitudes below 1800m and sometimes even up to 2000m. Though Kotagiri and most other Badaga villages are situated at an altitude of around 1800m peacocks have rarely been sighted in Badaga villages. There is just one proverb (‘like a peacock excited before the monsoon’) mentioning peacocks among the thousands of Badaga proverbs recorded.
The Nilgiris deserves a deeper study of man-animal habitations for long term wild life preservation and human protection.
Dharmalingam Venugopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]