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Midnight Trappers Suspected in Palos Verdes Estates : Friends of Peacocks Say Flock Is Diminishing

November 30, 1986|ADRIAN HAVAS | Times Staff Writer

PALOS VERDES ESTATES — Defenders of the peafowl that roam two neighborhoods of this city say the flocks are diminishing, and they suspect that "midnight stalkers" are removing the birds in violation of the city's peafowl management policy.

Police Chief Monte Newman said his office has received no complaints about peacock trapping, and noted that trapping on private property is not illegal as long as the birds are not mistreated.

Friends of the Peacocks, a group trying to preserve the flocks that have roamed the city's Espinosa Circle and Malaga Cove areas for 60 years, has no proof that peafowl foes are trapping the birds, said spokesman Gar Goodson. But he added, "Numerous residents have stated that they do not see as many birds as last year."

More Birds May Be Bought

"It's not illegal," Goodson said. "But if they choose not to comply with the management program, then our group . . . will buy new peafowl and bring them here to replace the stock."

Supporters say the peacocks add color and uniqueness to the community. Opponents say the birds are noisy, messy and destructive.

The management program, adopted last February by the City Council, calls for controlled trapping of up to nine peacocks, the male of the species, in the Espinosa Circle area. No birds were to be trapped at Malaga Cove.

Nine peacocks were trapped in September, October and November, with the last caught on Nov. 2, said Don Anderson, director of operations for the Southern California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which provided the traps. The birds were given to a San Diego County rancher.

Since then, Anderson said, some residents have inquired about trapping more birds.

Query About Traps

"We received a phone call from a resident asking where to buy the kind of trap that the SPCA used," Anderson said. "We told her that no more trapping was allowed. The retort was that . . . 'We can catch them and have been turning them loose by the landslide area of Rancho Palos Verdes.' " The Portuguese Bend slide area also has a peafowl flock.

Although the city did not do any trapping in the Malaga Cove area, Friends member Gerald McAlevey said the flock there has diminished.

"Two months ago there were 22 birds in Malaga Cove," he said. "One and a half years ago there were 38 birds there.

"I think it's a silly thing to have to do to go out and have to procure peacocks and bring them back to the city. But I favor it."

Donald Kane of Espinosa Circle said some of his neighbors have been trapping birds and he has noticed a 40% decrease in the flock. Kane, a peafowl foe, said, "I think it's lovely. I wish they were all gone."

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