In the small town of St. Andrews in New Olx Praca, a search is underway to locate a young peacock named Pete on the loose.
Pete was a new resident of Kingsbrae Garden, a 27-acre community garden that houses a variety of plants and animals, including several other peacocks.
He arrived late Thursday evening and has been quarantined to make sure he is healthy before being introduced to other animals.
Kingsbrae park manager Bob McLaren said the colorful bird seemed to fit into the interior “almost instantly.”
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“We thought, hey, this is going to be great, we’re going to have another addition,” McLaren said.
But on Saturday, he received a “slightly alarmed phone call saying that Pete had left.”
“I said, ‘He can’t leave, he just came. He’s only been here for a day,” he said.
Upon further inspection of Pete’s enclosure, the garden staff found a hole indicating that something had dug in from outside.
“Of course you think the worst. There were foxes and raccoons and stuff around us, so we just assumed that Pete had succumbed to the local wildlife and that he was gone,” McLaren said.
They found a few feathers—not uncommon during mating season—but no sign of Pete. McLaren also noted that peacocks have “pretty good claws”, so he may have stood up for himself.
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In addition, they received a message over the weekend from a man who spotted a peacock wandering around in a nearby area – indicating that the bird had survived despite burrowing into his pen.
Since then, they have received numerous reports of peacock sightings, as well as people saying they may have heard the bird’s “characteristic call.”
“Looks like Pete is more than special. He left and possibly returned home and settled in a new unit,” McLaren said.
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Brad Henderson, Mayor of St Andrews and Managing Director of Kingsbrae Garden, said staff are hopeful.
“We believe Peacock Pete is alive and well, but it may be some time before we can bring him back,” he said.
“He doesn’t know where his home is now as he is a new resident of St. Andrews.”
Henderson noted that there are five other peacocks in the garden – three traditional blue peacocks, like Pete’s, and two white ones – that have roamed before but have always returned home.
After the publication of Pete’s disappearance on the garden’s Facebook page, many residents of the city were on the alert.
“It’s almost like a scavenger hunt for people walking the trails and trying to help us find Pete, which we appreciate,” he said. “The public is intrigued.”
McLaren, the area manager, said those who spot Pete should contact Kingsbrae Garden rather than trying to catch him to prevent injury to both themselves and the bird.
“The peacock is a fairly large bird with very strong legs, and if you grab one of them and they kick with their foot, you can seriously injure it.
“We hope he finds his way home,” he added. “We would love to have Pete back.”
– with files from Travis Fortnum
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