Dec 10, 2014
BAREILLY: Although there has been a drastic decline in the population of the sarus cranes in the district, this year, foresters said there were 142 more birds spotted in Bareilly division than last year. The survey results have brought cheer to locals, bird watchers and the forest department, which recently launched a drive to conserve the state bird after noticing an alarming reduction in sightings of the bird which was at one time very common. After the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) listed crane under vulnerable bird species in schedule IV of Wildlife Act, 1972, the forest department had conducted a two-day survey to determine its number in Bareilly division which includes Bareilly, Shahjahanpur, Pilibhit and Badaun districts. During the survey, 832 cranes were spotted in Bareilly division of which 104 were chicks. Of the total number of cranes found in Bareilly division, 598 were spotted in Shahjahanpur, 145 in Bareilly, 65 in Pilibhit and 24 in Badaun. In 2013, the total population of state bird in Bareilly division stood at 690, including 493 in Shahjahanpur, 114 in Bareilly, 18 in Badaun and 65 in Pilibhit. Besides, the total number of cranes in Bareilly district has gone up by 61 over the past two years as in 2012, there were only 84 cranes. The survey is conducted annually in December since 2012 in all districts of the state. Rising awareness among locals and forest department is the main reason behind an increase in the population of the bird. “With the help of locals, we have started taking protective measures for the conservation of birds. Earlier, children in rural areas used to break the eggs of cranes or street dogs used to eat them,” said Dharam Singh, divisional forest officer (DFO), Bareilly.
The forest officials said that rise in population of cranes would help in maintaining ecological system. “The bird eats insects found in wetlands, slush, and roots and stems of aquatic plants and hence, help in stopping in multiplication of their numbers,” said the DFO. Apart from insects and aquatic plants, the cranes also consume frogs, fishes and snails. Singh added that maintaining the population of the bird is related to conserving wetlands as more cranes means wetlands will not dry up easily. The state bird is considered the tallest flying bird of the world and its standing height is approximately 156 centimetres. The crane builds its nest in the months of June and July in marshy areas from paddy straw, leaves and twigs. The breeding period of the bird is August and September and at a time, the female crane usually gives two eggs, said MP Singh, chief conservator of forest, Bareilly and Moradabad divisions. In an effort to conserve the bird, forest staff are tracking down the cranes, and have asked villagers to keep their eyes peeled for it. Villagers have even been given mobile phone numbers at which they can call and inform forest staff of sightings of the bird. Foresters are panning out across Bareilly villages to keep tabs on the bird. The cranes move in pairs. When one of the two dies, it is rare for the other to survive, forest officials said. The bird, whose zoological name is Grus Antigone, was earlier quite an ordinary sight on the banks of rivers and community ponds. Of late, the birds have become rare. The Terai belt, earlier replete with pairs of cranes year-round, has seen few pairs this year, the DFO said. Singh said several teams had been deputed to monitor instances of the sighting of the bird across Bareilly region. Spots have been identified for foresters to visit and count birds. Regular tabs will be kept on where the birds were sighted. The exercise will continue for a few days. Villagers have been asked to click pictures of the bird.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com