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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Jun 6, 2019, 6:58 AM; last updated: Jun 6, 2019, 6:58 AM (IST)

Black-necked crane faces threat from stray dogs, constructions

Population of the migratory bird, which arrives in country for breeding, has dwindled in Ladakh region

Our Correspondent

Leh, June 5

Black-necked crane bird, listed as an endangered species in the state and famous for its charismatic characteristics, is now facing a serious threat in Ladakh from hunting and stray dogs and “irresponsible human interventions”.

The bird is found in Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal and is the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir.

Several studies, including one of 15 years, on the status and distribution of black-necked crane population in India by a team of WWF headed by Pankaj Chandan, has revealed that dogs, stray as well as those owned by nomadic tribals, in the areas of armed forces pose a serious threat to the successful breeding of this bird as dogs eat eggs and chicks of the crane during the breeding season.

Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh (WCBCL) president Lobzang Veshudha said there were reports of packs of stray dogs that chase the crane and eat them.

Black-necked crane is one of the migratory birds in Ladakh and visits wetlands of Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary for breeding purposes. Ladakh is a major breeding place for the crane in India. The birds start arriving here in the last week of March and stay till October.

Tsewang Namgyal, director of Snow-Leopard Conservancy India Trust, said almost all nomadic herders own dogs, which are kept to alert them about the presence of wolves or any other enemies of their livestock. Due to lack of sterilisation, the problems further compounds as ranging dogs prey the black-necked cranes and other wild animals.

Lobzang Vishudha also said human interventions, such as construction of fences around their nesting areas and marshes and draining of marshy area by way of channelling water also disturbs their breeding.

He further said cranes have not been noticed at nearby breeding places ever since fencing of the Tsomoriri Lake and Chushul marshes, which were known breeding places.

“There is a lack of awarness about harmful impact of construction and channelling of water from marshes at Anley village,” Veshudha stated.

The crane is listed as a vulnerable species in the IUCN red list. The increased movement of vehicles due to a higher tourist footfall is also having a harmful impact.

The state listed the black-necked crane as a protected species in Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act. Locals consider the crane sacred as its arrival is a symbol of good luck.

Breeding affected

  • Black-necked crane visits wetlands of Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary for breeding purposes. The birds start arriving here in the last week of March and stay till October
  • It is found in Ladakh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal and is the state bird of J&K
  • A study of 15 years by a team of WWF, has revealed that dogs pose a serious threat to the successful breeding of cranes as they eat eggs and chicks of the bird during the breeding season

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