Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack: Regarded as Odisha’s peacock man, Panu Behera, a retired home guard of Odisha Police died of prolonged illness here on Friday.

The demise of the home guard has come as a major shock not only for family but also the peacocks that he has been protecting near Naraj for the last few years.

Popularly called as Panu Mausa (63), he was instrumental in protecting the environment near Sidheswar firing range at Talapada and moreover the peacocks.

“Despite his age, he was allowed to serve as home guard for his immense contribution towards protecting the cashew plantations near the firing range as well as taking care of the peacocks,” said DG (home Guard and Fire Services) Binay Behera.

Panu Behera had special bonding with over 60 peacocks that used to respond to his calls. Local villagers said that Panu Mausa used to feed the birds twice early in the morning and evening.

“After the super cyclone, three peacocks from Chandaka reserve forest had come to this place and since then Panu Behera has been taking care of them which resulted in the rise in their population in the area,” said Swadhin Pradhan, a local villager.

Pradhan further said that with Panu’s death, there is every possibility that the peacocks might face problems in finding food and water in the area. Under such circumstances, the government should at least come up with special measures for the protection of the peacocks.

“We would certainly look for alternatives to ensure that the peacocks do not face problems,” Behera added.