DESPITE brewing community concern about Sale Botanic Garden’s iconic families of peacocks, peahens and peachicks, Wellington Shire Council says it has no responsibility for the birds.
Recent council works to upgrade the garden’s former fauna park to a ‘garden for life’ sensory garden has resulted in the removal of trees the peafowl regularly roosted in.
The fenced enclosure will be removed soon.
A spokesperson for Wellington Shire Council said the peafowl which roam the Sale Botanic Gardens and surrounds were wild birds.
“They are not, nor have ever been, the responsibility of Wellington Shire Council,” she said.
“There is no provision within the current redevelopment works to provide any form of man-made housing for the peacocks.
“It is expected that the peacocks will remain within the gardens both during, and after, the current redevelopment works.
“Council has no plans to remove the peacocks from the gardens.”
The Gippsland Times received a number of phone calls in the past two weeks from distressed residents with “nowhere left to turn”.
One concerned caller said she had previously phoned the council when one bird had taken ill, and a council ranger arrived to attend to it.
Resident Tony Smith said the redevelopment was “yet another ‘people space’ with no provision for the safety and security of the peacocks that have lived in the park and laid their eggs behind the security fence for generations”.
“While the last wallaby is no longer there, the peacocks remain and without security the eggs and hatchlings are vulnerable to predators, dogs, uncontrolled children and irresponsible people,” he said.
Mr Smith said while council claimed it had no responsibility for them as the birds were “wildlife”, they were considered a drawcard and enhanced the visitor experience.
“The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning says that peacocks are not classed as wildlife,” he said.
“I have addressed my concerns to our councillors, including in 2016 during the submission opportunities and last week, and believe it would not take much to install a smallish enclosure to protect the nesting mothers and young chicks.”
Mr Smith urged anyone who shared his concern to contact the councillors.