‘Creative’ peacock questions

February 09, 2018

What has been termed ‘‘created solutions or alternatives’’ are being investigated to retain the peacock enclosure in Deniliquin’s Waring Gardens.

Edward River Council general manager Adam McSwain said councillors have asked him to speak with the Department of Primary Industries and get more information which would further assist them in making an informed decision on whether to retain or remove the enclosure and its inhabitants.

He told the Pastoral Times questions to the department would relate to community suggestions regarding a volunteer management committee.

It would also include Mick Cochrane’s offer to undertake the necessary training for the exhibition of caged animals at his own cost, and then offering his services to council on a voluntary basis.

‘‘After our workshop last week there are some things for me to discuss with the relevant department regarding legislation,’’ Mr McSwain said.

‘‘Where this all started is that council was told that to exhibit caged animals it needed a licence. We were having discussions about that when all the requirements were raised.

‘‘We need to know if there are any creative solutions or alternatives.’’

Council was instructed it would cost $30,000 to bring the peacock enclosure up to standard, and that food and care costs were expected to increase from $6000 a year to $10,000 a year as a result of the required changes.

Council must also have at least two staff members who hold a Certificate III in Captive Animals, which has a minimum cost of $4290 per person. The course takes two years to complete, and requires course attendees to complete 100 hours of practical work placement in a zoo.

Speaking to the Pastoral Times on Wednesday, Mr McSwain said a recommendation to next week’s council meeting on the future of the enclosure had not yet been drafted.

Business papers for the Thursday, February 15 meeting are expected to be made public today.

‘‘Clearly, the councillors will not make their final decision until next week,’’ he said.

‘‘In the meantime, they have asked me to ensure we explore every avenue possible.’’

Deniliquin’s Max Beames has thrown another suggestion in the ring for council, based on what he’s seen in his travels around Australia over the last decade.

Mr Beames said he had come across at least five peacock parks on those travels, the most appealing of which saw the birds roam free.

‘‘I can’t remember where the park was, but it was surrounded by a dog-proof fence and with self-closing gates.

‘‘The birds could roam free in the park, and they would often wander up the main street where people would interact with them and feed them bread. I felt that offered a greater tourist attraction and letting them run loose would be my preferred option for Deniliquin.’’

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