Black-necked cranes return to Tawang
13th Dec, 2018
- Arunachal Pradesh’s border district of Tawang celebrates the arrival of sacred black-headed cranes to their winter grounds.
- Tawang’s Pangcheng valley along the Nyamjang Chhu River is their winter abode.
Black necked crane
- It is a medium-sized craneof Asia that breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and remote parts of India and Bhutan.
- It is revered in Buddhist traditions and culturally protected across much of its range.
- A festival in Bhutan celebrates the bird while the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir considers it as the state bird.
Distribution and Habitat-
- The crane breeds and winters in Xinjang, Tibet, Qinghai and Sichuan in China and Jammu & Kashmir in India.
- In Yunnan, Guizhou, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, it only comes during the winters.
- In Arunachal Pradesh, the bird winters in three areas: the Sangti valley in West Kameng district, and Zemithang and the Chug valley in Tawang district.
- The cranes usually arrive in all three areas in late October or early November, and depart in late March or early April.
- The largest populations are in China with smaller numbers extending into Vietnam, Bhutan and India.
- The bird is protected under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and is in the ‘vulnerable category’ of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources(IUCN)
- It is listed in Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES) also known as the Washington Convention.
- Habitat modification, drying of lakes and agriculture are threats to the populations.
- In many areas, dogs belonging to herders are a major threat to young birds.
- Power lines has been another cause of mortality in some areas.
- The drying of wetlands can cause increased accessibility of the nests leading to predation while a rise in the water level can submerge nests.
- The problems are most serious in the wintering areas, where wetlands are extensively affected by human activity including irrigation, dam construction, draining, and grazing pressure.
- In Tibet, widespread changes in traditional agricultural practices have reduced the availability of waste barley and spring wheat.
Measures or Safeguards-
- Supporting pilot projects to reduce degradation around key wetlands through alternative livelihoods and agriculture practices.
- Undertaking long-term monitoring of selected breeding areas to assess the impacts of climate change on cranes and key wetlands, and to develop measures for adaptation to climate change.
- Strengthening environmental education efforts and community awareness.