Mumbai: India’s national bird, the peacock, will get an exclusive area at the sprawling Raj Bhavan, the official residence of Maharashtra’s governor, to ensure its conservation.

A Peacock Conservation Project aimed at its conservation, breeding and protection was initiated last year after it was found that the number of peacocks roaming in the forested and green environs of Raj Bhavan, located at the tip of Malabar Hill and encircled on three sides by sea, was dwindling.

Earlier, mongooses were brought in to control the snake population but with the disappearance of snakes, mongooses began eating up the eggs of peahens.

Stray dogs, too, hindered the growth of this bird.

On Friday, Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao and the chairman of the Tata Trusts, Ratan Tata, will inaugurate the newly created project.

A semi-wildlife landscape has been formed in a secluded, forested area of 1,000 square metres.

The predator-free peacock aviary, named as Mayur Vihar, has natural as well as artificial nesters, artificial feeders, a small water body, kitchen and an isolation and treatment ward for injured peacocks.

Open to the skies, the surrounding iron fencing has been provided with large windows to allow free movement of peacocks and peahens in and out of the zone. The project is expected to increase the population of peafowl, which currently stands at 18, to 25 to 30 by the end of 2016-2017.

The project has received financial assistance from Tata Trusts and has been executed by Myvets Charitable and Research Centre. Headed by veterinarians Dr Madhurita Gupta and Dr Yuvraj Kaginkar, they will take care of the nutritional aspects, breeding, feeding, psychological behaviour and physical needs of the peacocks.

In future, Myvets Trust will concentrate on providing protection to the young ones of peacocks from predators whilst abandoned eggs of peacocks will be incubated artificially.