Less human intervention, traffic and pollution due to curfews and lockdowns, has improved the habitat at Lalbagh with peacocks and other birds finding breeding ground.
About ten peacocks have been spotted in Lalbagh, said G. Kusuma, deputy director of Horticulture Department, Lalbagh. This, she said was an unusual sight. The complete habitat of the park has benefited as it was undisturbed, she added.
In the past ten years, the Lalbagh staff saw peacocks for the first time, Kusuma said.
Dr. MB Krishna, an ecologist and ornithologist, said that because peacocks mostly visit green spaces and greenery has decreased, coming of peacocks is significant to Lalbagh. Since the place was closed, patches of grass which were initially planned to be cleared, were left intact which resulted in increase of overall greenery at Lalbagh, Krishna explained.
Krishna further said that apart from Lalbagh being attractive to peacocks, the existing species of birds have increased in number owing to better conditions for breeding.
He added that Magpie-Robin, white-breasted water Hen and Coucal are a few birds that feed on the ground. On his regular visits to Lalbagh, Krishna observed that the uncleared grass patches and lack of human movement created these breeding conditions for the birds.
Chandra Shekar, a birdwatcher who took permission to visit the garden during lockdown said that the number of birds has increased in Lalbagh. He said that he spotted nests at lower levels as compared to pre-lockdown times and even the water birds were seen walking on Lalbagh’s paths.
However, Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, a senior fellow at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) stated that lockdown measures cannot possibly benefit a habitat in all cases. The management’s work reduced which led to increased growth of grass and this in turn favored the breeding of insects, birds and other animals, he added.
He further said that such thriving biodiversity in terms of peacocks, snakes and birds is not suitable for Lalbagh since it is a botanical garden meant for research and recreational services.
Dr. A N Yellappa Reddy, Chairman at the Bangalore Environment Trust and Former Secretary of the Department of Ecology and Environment explained how tourists have been affecting Lalbagh. He said, “People throw all kinds of waste as they don’t understand the sensitivity of an ecosystem. They pluck leaves and tease the birds. It is difficult for the security to watch this behavior. People lack civic responsibility but they aren’t punished as compared to other countries where people are punished for such acts.”
He stated that the lockdown has benefited the ecosystem of Lalbagh as tourist related activities have reduced. He further said that less human interference, minimum disturbance during curfews and lockdowns have led the birds and butterflies enjoy the serenity of Lalbagh.