What is in news?
Sarus crane is the world’s tallest flying bird is getting a new lease of life in Uttar Pradesh, where its population has climbed to 15,938 as per the 2018 census (summer). Besides, there is a jump of 5.2% from 2017, as per the State Forest and Wildlife department.
About Sarus crane :
- Sarus crane is the official State bird of UP.
- Morever, it is also India’s only resident breeding crane, as per the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
- largest known flocks — Keoladeo National Park
- They are non-migratory crane
- Scientific name : Antigone antigone
Sarus crane characteristics :
- the Sarus crane is a bird distinguishable by its red upper neck and white collar.
- Towering over 5 feet on average, the Sarus is the tallest flying bird in the world and
Food habits : they are omnivorous, feeding on fish and insects, as well as roots and plants.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN ) : ‘vulnerable’ in its list of threatened species.
- The Sarus habitat is outside protected areas, in natural wetlands with low water depth, marshy and fallow areas and agricultural fields.
- Indian Subcontinent — India, Nepal and Pakistan
- Southeast Asia — Cambodia, extreme southernLaos, south Vietnam, Myanmar
- They are inhabit open wet and dry grasslands, agricultural fields, marshes and pools,
- In U.P., Sarus crane in mainly found in south-west and central regions, in Mainpuri, Etawah, Aligarh, Etah, Lakhimpur Kheri Sitapur ShahjahanpurBarabanki and Hardoi districts.
- A significant number of Sarus cranes use rice paddies for nesting and breeding in these areas.
- Recently, WTI under its Sarus Crane Conservation project, had identified 30 water bodies as important Sarus wetland sites.
Significance of Sarus crane :
- They play a vital role in ecological balance by controlling the population of harmful insects thereby controlling pests.
- Moreover, they have significant cultural importance and arevery sociable.
- As per the IUCN 2016 status, the Sarus crane population is suspected to have decreased globally, owing to the loss and degradation of wetlands, as a result of drainage and conversion to agriculture, ingestion of pesticides, and the hunting of adults and collection of eggs and chicks for trade, food, medicinal purposes and to help limit damage to crops.
- Change in the cropping pattern from paddy to sugarcane is also a reason for low Sarus count.
- The threats still exist in the form of not just wetland destruction but also electrocution due to power transmission lines in agricultural areas and poisoning.
- The Sarus Crane Conservation Project introduced by the State government in 2013.
- Meanwhile, It is running across 10 districts of Purvanchalunder WTI in collaboration with Tata Trusts and the U.P. Forest Department. The program involves working through local volunteers, called Sarus Mitra or Friends of the Sarus. Also, the Tata Trust partner NGOs are working in the area.
- The Sarus Protection Committees have strategized to involve local communities in monitoring and protecting the bird and the wetlands sustaining it.
- For instance, the recent rise in the population of sarus was the result of involvement of farmers and fisherfolk in the protection of Sarus nests in wetlands as well as rice paddies.
- They are conserved under CITES Appendix II