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Travel News, September, 2006

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White peacock gives birth to 3 chicks at Vandalur
by Prakash

       Chennai: Hundreds of children and bird watchers are flocking to the Arignar Anna Zoological Park at Vandalur, 30 kilometres from Chennai, to have a glimpse of a white peacock after it gave birth to three chicks. Also known as the Vandalur Zoo, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park is being frequented by a large number of people. The zoo has has many peacocks with all white feathers. The all white feathers are attributed to the missing black melanine pigment. Such peacocks are called albino peacocks. Watching a white peacock was an unforgettable experience for a lot of children and parents as well. "Whenever I see other peacocks, they are in different colours but when I saw these peacocks I couldn't believe that peacocks are in white colour. Their babies are so cute, they have yellow- coloured head and I feel like touching them," said Neha, a visitor.

     At the Arignar Anna Zoological Park zoo, out of 25 peacocks, 13 are white in colour. Declared as an endangered species, these white peacocks have the same habits like coloured peacocks. They are omnivorous but are kept as herbivorous in the zoo. They are fed on green vegetables, cereals and staples. According to the zoo authorities, April to May is usually considered to be peacocks' breeding season, but the female peacock hatched eggs in the month of June. The female laid a total of six eggs out of which three hatched successfully. "This is albinos variety of peacock which is available in our zoo and captive breeding is going on and recently also they have laid six eggs out of which three have been incubated," said Sewa Singh, Deputy Director of the Arignar Anna Zoo. An interesting aspect about these white peacocks is that they can indicate whether there are predators in the wild forest.

     There are as many as 81 enclosures - six types of deer from barking deer, sambar, blackbuck, Nilgai, Sangai, Hog deer, a number of monkey species from Nilgiri Langur to the endangered Lion-tailed Macaque, Babboon, Hanuman Langur and Leaf-capped Langur, wolf, jackal, hyena, llama, otter, an aviary specially for Vedantangal birds and another for Point Calimere ones, then the higher carnivores like the sleek and beautiful tiger among others. Founded in 1855, the Madras Zoo (as it was earlier known) was situated in People's Park near Park Town. It also has the distinction of being the first public zoo in India. By 1975, the zoo had expanded and had to be moved out of the city. In 1979, the Tamilnadu Forest Department set aside 1300 acres (5.2 km2) on the outskirts of the city to build the current zoo, which is one of the largest in South Asia. The Vandalur zoo is open six days a week, Tuesday is a holiday, from 9:00 to 6:00 pm.
-Sept 8,  2006

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