In what could be a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, protocol reserved till now for the funerals of Army personnel and national figures was extended to peacock, the National Bird of India, in the capital. According to a Times of India report, last Friday, Delhi police chose to bestow tricolor burial on a peacock, rescued from a road outside the High court. Police said they were simply following “protocol” as it was India’s national bird. “We gave it full honour and buried it with a Tricolour as it is our national bird.”

‘We gave it full honour and buried it with a Tricolour as it is our national bird. This is the protocol and we will follow it in the future if another such peacock comes in our custody,’ the Times of India report quoted an officer as saying.

However, this act of Delhi police has left the wildlife activists fuming; with some arguing, it was a violation of the Wildlife Act.

“This is in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act as no NGO or police even can get a postmortem conducted or bury the animal. It needs to be handed over to forest department who are required to either cremate or bury the animal themselves to ensure no parts are smuggled. The correct protocol is not being followed in the case of peacock deaths and I have written to the forest department asking them to inform each police station on the procedure or to either empower them under section 55(b) of the act,” said animal activist Gauri Maulekhi to Times of India.   

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, states that schedule I animals found dead were state property and a burial or cremation could only be carried out by the state forest department after a postmortem.

According to the report the police station on Friday received a call regarding an injured peacock lying outside the gate number five of Delhi High court. The Bird was taken to Jain Bird Hospital in Chandni Chowk, where it was declared brought dead.

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