WITH iridescent colours and a majestic fanning of tail feathers when trying to attract their mates, peacocks are such natural beauties that they are considered as national treasures in some countries.
A few hundred of these beautiful birds will be a new tourism attraction in Penang when the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.
The Peacock Echo Park, boasting nine species of peafowl, is being built on a plot of state land beside Prai River in Taman Kimsar.
The 25ft tall aviary will be occupied by Indian metallic greenish-blue neck peacocks, Pied peacocks and other special variations that will roam in the enclosure, set to be completed by the end of this year.
The peacocks in Taman Kimsar belong to businessman R. Parathaman, who started out with 10 peacocks as gifts from a grateful Indonesian president.
His collection has grown into a pride of over 200 peafowls.
In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, Parathaman volunteered in the search operation for the bodies of victims in Acheh, Indonesia.
“I helped them search for victims and bury the dead.
“When I returned to Malaysia in 2011, the then Indonesia president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presented me with 10 peacocks as a token of appreciation,” he said.
Parathaman’s love for peacocks grew from then and he even travelled to India to learn from breeders.
“I started rearing them and now have around 200 peacocks of nine species,” he said.
Parathaman, who is in his 40s, said peacocks are easy to maintain and need mainly a proper diet and clean space.
Peacocks belong to the Phaianidae family, which includes the pheasant, turkey, partridge and grouse.
“They are easy to keep and actually make good guard pets as they are alert and notice the slightest sound.
“I feed them corn, grains, fishmeal and wheat.
“They also like to eat bananas, watermelon and wholemeal bread,” he said.
Parathaman estimates that he can house 50 to 60 peacocks in the aviary for public viewing while giving them ample space to roam.
Seberang Prai city councillor P. David Marshel said Peacock Echo Park was one of the state’s ideas since 2018 as a new tourist attraction.
“The project started four months ago and there has been delays due to the movement control order.
“It is slated to be completed by the end of the year,” he said.
He said the aviary was funded by Seberang Prai City Council, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy and a few city councillors.
“It costs around RM120,000 to build the aviary. We are in the process of building a pond as well.
“The state approved RM200,000 for the pond and a contractor has been appointed,” he said.David said they planned on including a river cruise for visitors to enjoy the scenery and travel to Ampang Jajar Park from the peacock park later.
“We want to have a bicycle track along Prai River as well. It will be great to make this place a tourist attraction,” he said.