Chiang Mai, den 14.03.2012
hardly anything is known about the Cambodian Green Peafowl, except for a few smaller articles. There are almost no photographs; at least very few have been published yet. We have some small populations of the Cambodian Green peafowl that have been imported from Cambodia. But these are merely aviary birds. Some time ago, I took the opportunity to go on a short visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia in the hope of finding some information there – if at all possible. Unfortunately I did not have the time to watch the birds in the various national parks there, so I limited myself to visiting national institutions, like zoological gardens, which are maintained by the wildlife department and supported by organisations for the protection of birds from around the world. I also visited a private zoo.
I was delightfully surprised not to see a single blue Indian Peacock there. These birds are the reason for a large number of mongrel peafowl in originally pure-bred populations of Green Peafowl, since they are often cross-bred into those populations or simply set free in the wilderness. This is usually done by private persons when they find that maintaining peafowl turns out to be rather expensive, or when they fear prosecution for the illegal possession of such birds. This is a practice that one can find rather often in Asian countries, too.
But let me come back to the peafowl. I was really surprised to find such a vast variety of different species within such a short time. I am, however, rather sceptical about the origin of aviary birds, so I shall have to compare this variety of peafowl with that in their natural habitats in the future.
My personal guess so far is that there are two or three Imperator subspecies in Cambodia. These are different in appearance to those common in Thailand. Some of them might also live in the border areas of Thailand – or might have lived there.
It is a pity that these Cambodian varieties have not been acknowledged as a subspecies in their own rights. In my opinion there is an urgent need for more research done by scientists.
The most important Cambodian wildlife populations are:
· in the North Plains / Preh Vihear,
· in the Cardamom Mountains
· in the Elephant Mountains / Bokor National Park and
· in the large Mondul Kiri area / Kaev Sema
As an exception, since I am not too fond of this, my photographs show aviary birds and recently confiscated Green Peafowl only. But these are merely first shots.
These pictures taken from aviary peafowl populations do not and should not make up a criterion for a species!!!
Yours Friedrich Esser