OAKLAND, Fla. - Where have all the peacocks gone? Some community members in Oakland, Florida, a town west of Orlando, are concerned that the number of wild peacocks they normally see has apparently dropped significantly – and they're trying to figure out why.
Maureen Jacobson has lived in Oakland for years, and cannot imagine the town without its familiar feathered friends.
"These animals have been a part of the charm of Oakland since we’ve lived here for 18 years," she told FOX 35. For years, she said she would normally see dozens of peacocks around town – and her yard – on any given day. But in recent weeks, the number has dropped from dozens to less than 10.
What happened? Where did they go?
"Everybody is asking the same question, what happened to the peacocks? We put up signs saying ‘missing peacocks,’ ‘help us find our peacocks.’ People can’t find them," she said.
Carla Song is neighbors with Jacobson, and has lived in Oakland for four years. She has also noticed fewer peacocks.
"I can’t imagine Oakland without the peacocks any more than I can’t imagine Oakland without the oak trees like these," she said.
In Florida, peacocks are not native and are considered an invasive species. Residents are within their rights to remove them from their properties as long as they are relocated properly, according to officials.
So, what happened? It's not immediately known.
Both women do not believe the peacocks are being removed and relocated. Even if so, it isn't clear who would be removing them.
Two possible reasons for the decline they've thought of is either coyotes got to more peacocks, or the feathered friends moved to another town nearby.
"We don’t know if aliens came down and sucked them up. Honestly, people ask really weird questions," Jacobson said.
Either way, they're hoping the rest of the community steps up to help out. They're hoping to declare Oakland a peacock sanctuary. They've created a Facebook group: "Protect the peacocks of Oakland" to keep members updated on their efforts.
"We’re working at this point to get a petition together and get Oakland declared a peacock sanctuary where at least we can keep them safe from any potential trapping," said Song. They're planning to make their peacock sanctuary pitch later this month at the town's next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.