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Peacocks face final days

“We will focus on the females. If you allow one or two females to remain, there will always be problems,” said Braha.

The Village Association plans to remove all but 12 male peacocks.

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Although Longboat Key commissioners were both visibly and audibly agitated as they started discussing peacock eradication, they authorized spending another $2,400 to underwrite the trapping and removal of Village peacocks until the estimated flock of 50 is culled to no more than a dozen male birds.

The Town Commission, led by Commissioner Phill Younger, made it clear that it does not want the town to play a direct role in the removal of the birds and funding for next year will likely not be forthcoming. The consensus also underscored the fact that the $2,400 should be financially sufficient to pay a trapper at the going rate of approximately $30 per bird to arrive at the flock of 12. The idea, says former Village Association President Michael Drake, is that without access to a female, the town will never face the issue again.

Ragheb

But the move to remove the peacocks was countered at the meeting by Village resident Samir Ragheb, who questioned the forceful removal of birds when the island is designated a bird sanctuary.

“This controversial issue has taken more time from the community and commission than justified. The peacocks have been here before any of the residents,” said Ragheb.

Drake took the podium and diplomatically agreed with Ragheb in saying that some do love the birds, and some hate them. He then explained that the commission had adopted an ordinance limiting the number of peacocks to 12 birds in the past. He said that after the $2,400 allocation in 2010, the Village Association paid contractors to remove 86 birds, leaving the 40 to 60 birds that currently roam the streets.

“We need the commission to do another transfer of $2,400,” said Drake in closing.

It was Commissioner Jack Duncan who asked in a delicate and sensitive tone, “Can we cull by gender?”

Drake said, “That is completely feasible, and the males are the primary reason people come to watch them anyway.”

Ragheb returned to the podium and said that the ordinance with a stated goal of 12 peacocks is an unenforced and arbitrary law on the books. Ragheb said that the other day a construction worker was so enamored by a peacock that he took him home and made him a pet. The worker was required to return the bird.

Ragheb told another anecdote in which a new homeowner on the island recently killed a peacock in their backyard and burned it in a pit. Ragheb asked why we are not protecting the animals since Longboat Key is a sanctuary.

Braha ready to rumble

Braha

Newly designated director of peacock removal for the Village, James Braha, said that he has spoken and is impressed with the company that can remove the birds quickly and without much disruption in residents’ lives. He said they could capture the birds easily, with nets, and bring them to a farm.

“We will focus on the females. If you allow one or two females to remain, there will always be problems,” said Braha.

Braha apologized to Drake and the commission for his words and tone at a previous commission meeting in which he blamed Drake for the peacock population. He explained that emotions run high because, “the birds go on our roofs and wake us up day after day.”

Younger said the commission had gotten itself into a quandary in that it does not want to be in the animal control business but has a “grandfathered” issue and approach that needs to be concluded.

“What I’m inclined to do is to provide funding for the next six months, and beyond that no further funding for the town. I think this would create a situation where we are creating uniform policies. I’m going to move to delete this expenditure from the next budget,” said Younger.

Commissioner Duncan said he was already tired of talking of peacocks, and implored the Village Association to use the $2,400 budgeted this year to cull the flock to 12 birds, “so we don’t have to talk about this again.”

Braha told the commission, “We will get it done.”

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2 Responses for “Peacocks face final days”

  1. William Kary says:

    The peacocks were there when the majority, if not all of the current Village residents purchased their homes. If they did not want to live with the birds then why did they buy? If you are unhappy living with the birds, do them a favor, sell and move. This nothing more than a small group of individuals making a decision to alter mother nature’s course

  2. Al Janssens says:

    $2400 bucks?…..hmmm. How do they taste?

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