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Miami leaders change peacock protection rules

Until now, a 20-year Miami-Dade County rule had protected the peacock from harm or capture.

MIAMI – They’ve been a staple of Miami towns for years. Peacocks frequently roam the sidewalks and streets of neighborhoods in the area, often without fear of harm.

That’s in part thanks to a 20-year Miami-Dade County rule that protects peacocks from harm or capture.

But, South Florida hospitality has officially run its course. Commissioners this week placed a prescription allow cities to remove their protective restrictions if they can present a plan to remove them humanely.

For years, communities have been divided over how to deal with peacocks. On the one hand, their presence has become a symbol for Miami. On the other hand, their booming population has become a headache for neighbors.

The Washington Post reports that during the bird’s mating season – between February and March – neighbors complained that the peacocks were too aggressive, knocking on doors and windows, sometimes racking up $30,000 in damage.

Peacocks are native to Asia and Africa, so their presence in the Sunshine State remains a mystery. Some theories surrounding their arrival in Florida include the peacock being brought as a pet before escaping.

There is no exact number of peacocks in Miami because cities are prohibited from capturing and marking them. The University of Miami says researchers estimate their population could be between 650 and 1,500.