81 black-necked cranes ar­rive in Bumdel­ing

Business Bhutan - - Nation - Jigme Wangchen from Trashiyangtse

Fly­ing all the way from the Ti­betan plateau over a dis­tance of more than 200km, a to­tal of 81 black­necked cranes landed in their win­ter habi­tat, Bumdel­ing in Trashiyangtse, as of De­cem­ber 12.

The first pair of cranes landed in Bumdel­ing val­ley around 11:30am on Novem­ber 5.

Ac­cord­ing to the park of­fi­cials from Bumdel­ing Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary (BWS), the first cranes usu­ally ar­rive by the end of Oc­to­ber and early Novem­ber.

Although the num­ber of cranes fluc­tu­ates, last year the num­ber in­creased by 11 from 91 in 2016. There were 108 in 2015.

Park Man­ager of BWS, Karma Tempa, said that the pos­si­ble rea­son for the de­crease in the num­ber of cranes over the years is be­cause of the lim­ited num­ber of feed­ing grounds (paddy fields) due to floods. “Af­ter the flood, most paddy fields were left unat­tended,” he said. “An­other rea­son could also be the in­creas­ing num­ber of stray dogs in the area.”

He said that though no ca­su­al­ties to the cranes were re­ported in re­cent years, feral dogs re­main a threat and are of­ten seen dis­turb­ing the cranes at the feed­ing sites. “The park of­fi­cials and the com­mu­nity group mem­bers are con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tor­ing the cranes,” he added.

BWS has also taken sev­eral ini­tia­tives to de­velop the roost­ing area at the sand­bank in Bumdel­ing.

To draw more num­ber of cranes, the park and res­i­dents have started a con­ser­va­tion and sup­port group at Yangtse and Bumdel­ing each to clean and clear any ob­sta­cles that could pos­si­bly dis­turb the flight of the cranes at the roost­ing and feed­ing ar­eas.

Park of­fi­cials said that more than 100 cranes are ex­pected to ar­rive by Fe­bru­ary next year in Bumdel­ing.

Mean­while, in or­der to at­tract more cranes, the Mark Man­ager said that aware­ness cam­paigns on con­serv­ing the cranes are also be­ing con­ducted in the com­mu­nity reg­u­larly. “Farm­ers are dis­cour­aged to carry any forms of win­ter crop­ping and leave the fields empty for the cranes to feed on.”

Since feral dogs have re­mained one of the main threats to cranes, to re­duce the dog pop­u­la­tion, BWS car­ried out a ster­il­iza­tion cam­paign re­cently where more than 100 dogs were ster­il­ized.

The mi­gra­tion pe­riod for the cranes starts from Oc­to­ber till Fe­bru­ary. By the end of March, the last group of cranes leaves their win­ter ground for higher al­ti­tudes.

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