81 black-necked cranes arrive in Bumdeling
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.