August 30, 2007

Black-Necked Crane : An Endangered Species of Birds

The Thrung Thrung Karm(Bhutanese) Black-necked Cranes (Grus Nigficollis) Stands at a height of 1.2 M and weights about 5.3 kgs recognized as a vulnerable and endangered species, the crane is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau and once thrived i the reclusive parts of China, Bhutan and India.

The Population has been a steady increase in recent years and the most recent official cound found an estimated 11,000 Black-necked Cranes left in the entire world. Bhutan has the safest haven for more than 500 Cranes of these Endangered Birds every year.

Distribution of Black-necked Cranes Worldwide

Black-necked breeding ranges includes much of the Qinghai-Tibetean Platue in China, with a small population in adjacent Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh In India. The Cranes spends their winter in the lower elevations of the Qinghai-Tibet and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau in China and the Valley of Trashi Yangtsi (bomdeling) and Phobjikha Valley in Bhutan. Smaller numbers of the crane can also be found in Gyetsa in Bumthang, Khotokha in Wangduephodrang districts an in Kurtoe Dungkhar.

Relation With People of Phobhijkha.

The people of Phobjikha believes that there is an spiritual bond between the Thrung Thrung Karm and the 16th Century Gangtey Monastery, which is the centre of Buddhist Practice in the Valley. Bhutanese Mythology describes the cranes as a heavenly bird and as a symbol of peace. Folk legends tell of how the Black-Necked Cranes carried a Buddhist monk from Monastery to Monastery on their Feather Backs. The Black-necked Cranes arrives in Bhutan in October and Leaves at the starts of Spring Season on which the People of Phobjikha starts preparing the fields for the spring cultivation.

Protection and Conservation of Black-necked Crane.

In Bhutan, The Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN) which is an non government organization made every progress to protect the Endangered Birds and tied up with International Cranes Foundation in 1996 to study and protect Black-necked Cranes and their habitats. RSPN & ICF sponsor an annual crane festival in the Phobjikha Valley where local people sing, do crane dances and compete in archery contests. ICF brings eco-tours to the valley for the festival, which benefits the local economy and protects cranes.

In 1998, ICF, Bhutanese, and Japanese colleagues placed a satellite radio transmitter on a Black-necked Crane in Bhutan. During the spring migration the bird was followed to a staging area near Shigetze in southern Tibet and then on to a breeding area in north-central Tibet near Shensa. In the summer of 2000 a joint team from China, ICF, and Bhutan went to that area, captured 18 pre-fledged chicks, and placed color bands on their legs. Some of these cranes were observed in flocks of cranes wintering near Shigatse, but as yet none have been spotted in Bhutan.

In 2001, ICF put income from the new Black-necked Crane Conservation Fund directly to work for these cranes in China and Bhutan. Colleagues in Tibet repeated field surveys and by 2002 most of the major wintering areas were protected within a new Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve.

Check this Video of Black-necked Cranes:

Note : The Picture is Courtesy of Yeshi Dorji .

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