Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Peacocks that roamed town in Cumbria found dead after resident says they were becoming a 'nuisance'
16 June 2023, 08:08 | Updated: 16 June 2023, 14:40
Peacocks that have troubled residents for years in a town in Cumbria have begun to die in mysterious circumstances with a local animal sanctuary coordinating a ‘rescue mission’ for the surviving birds.
Around 30 of the birds have caused problems for residents in the Ellenborough estate in Maryport. People say the birds are scratching cars, pecking front doors and even damaging their kitchens.
Three of the birds have recently died -two hit by cars and another poisoned.
The birds’ presence has divided opinion with some describing them as ‘feral’ while others say they are a joy to be around.
The birds originated at the town’s Ellenbank hotel but now run amok in the streets after they bred and their numbers rose to around 30. A rescue mission has been launched after three of the birds died. But even this has divided residents, with some wanting them removed while others have signed a petition for them to stay.
Laura McDonald London told The Cumberland News & Star: "A lot of peacocks end up in shelters because they are unbearably noisy. People think they look great, but the novelty soon wears off."
Sarah Williamson said: "I get two of my neighbour's hens in my garden and they are enough for me to cope with! I can imagine five peacocks are making quite a mess."
Alison Simmons said: "Oh gosh I wouldn't complain seeing them walking freely we need a bit more understanding, flowers will regrow these are stunning animals."
Local dad Luke Pearson, 26, said: “They’re a nuisance and need to go.”
One resident said her TV aerial had been dislodged by a peacock and a girl had her leg scratched by one of them after she disturbed it in her garden.
There are now around 30 of the birds, including a brood of eight that hatched recently under a boat in a back garden.
A Facebook page had been set up for three of the birds, Romeo, Juliet and Betty.
In May last year Romeo was killed after being hit by a car.
Mel James posted on Facebook: “Sadly he hasn’t survived the night. Soo soo sorry there was nothing I could do to save this beautiful boy.”
Animal sanctuary owner Mel James, who is coordinating the rescue mission, said: “I’ve been in touch with several stately homes and other open spaces around the country who would love to take the birds.
“Getting them there is a big logistical exercise because they’re not easy to catch. It will mean road closures and the help of the police and fire brigade.
A Cumberland Council spokesman said: “Cumberland Council has received some complaints from local residents regarding the behaviour of some free roaming peacocks in the Maryport area and our officers are currently working with other agencies to investigate these reports and gather information.”