Jammu,April 26 (Scoop News) – Faced with severe threats to its survival including shrinking habitat, unregulated tourism, climate change, electric poles at the breeding and wintering areas of the bird in Ladakh and some parts of Northeast India, ferral dogs etc, the Black necked crane which is the state bird of Jammu and Kashmir, would now be considered for the inclusion in the “Species Recovery Programme” of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in recognition of its restricted range and very small population in the country.
“We would surely consider the inclusion of the Black-necked Crane under our species recovery programme,” said . A.K.Srivastava, Additional Director General (Wild life), Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India today acknowledging that the majestic bird which has strong cultural, spiritual and religious links to the local people in the region, is a threatened species and coordinated efforts should be made for its conservation both at the Central and the state government level.
. Srivastava who was responding to the recommendations for regional cooperation and conservation of the Black-necked Crane made by over fifty wildlife conservationists and Scientists from India, Bhutan and China who had converged at New Delhi at a two-day workshop “Crane Calling: Regional Cooperation for Conservation of Black-necked Crane” organized by World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN), said that the ministry would try to consider most of the recommendations of the workshop. He said all other recommendations of the workshop including improvement of the management of the important habitats for the Black-necked Crane taking into account the special needs for the species and its unique habitat, allowing no plantations within and around wetlands, disallowing encroachment of agriculture into wetlands used by Cranes and pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the agriculture practices around the wetlands etc are very very important for the survival of this majestic bird. He said the Environment minister . Jairam Ramesh, who inaugurated the workshop, is also totally aware of the challenges faced in the conservation of star species of the wetlands and is committed for its conservation.
The Black-necked Crane which has a population of only 11,000 worldwide is restricted to the high altitude wetlands of the Tibetan Plateau in
The workshop also made some other significant recommendations for regional cooperation and conservation of the Black-necked Crane including promotion of the Black-necked Crane as a symbol of international cooperation and conservation of the high altitude wetland ecosystems of the Tibetan Plateau, establishing a regional forum to promote conservation for the Black-necked Crane and its habitat, besides setting up an international working group to coordinate activities for the conservation of the species and its habitats.
“All the three countries should also initiate development of a Single Species Action Plan for the Black-necked Crane under the CMS and East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership. We should also raise awareness of the importance of the landscape-approach to management of the high altitude wetlands to conserve the Black-necked Crane and other unique fauna and flora,” read the recommendations adding Bhutan and India should be encouraged to join the East Asian- Australasian Flyway Partnership and designate sites of international importance for Black-necked Crane and other migratory waterbirds to the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Site Network and improve their management.
Some other recommendations included strengthening monitoring of the population of Black-necked Crane and other waterbirds in the high altitude wetlands through their inclusion in the Asian Waterbird Census and Important Bird Areas monitoring programmes; establishment of regional information centre for Black-necked Crane; realignment (as in Bhutan) of power lines and removal of wire fences and plantations in and around wetlands used by the Black-necked Crane to reduce mortality. Human made structures harming birds. No new plantations; strengthened management and scientific restoration (according to international guidelines to maintain the ecological character) of wetlands of national and international importance for the Black-necked Crane including traditional rangeland management practices.
. Pankaj Chandan, Programme Manager, High Altitude Wetlands Conservation Programme, WWF-India informed that the workshop also recommended that ecological and behavioural studies should be conducted on the Black-necked Crane, the issues related to management and improvement of habitat with active involvement of local communities should be addressed,
“We also discussed and recommended that our understanding of migration routes and habits of birds breeding in Ladakh and the origins of the birds wintering in Arunachal Pradesh should be improved besides the need to conduct the survey and documentation of other potential sites for BNC in northeast India,” said Ms. Archana Chatterjee, Head, Regional Programme on Himalayan High Altitude Wetlands Conservation, WWF-India adding that strategic spatial planning for wetland ecosystem management and designate and management of wetland areas of international importance for Black-necked Crane on the Ramsar List in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and additional sites in Ladakh,”
. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO, WWF-India said it was a great moment for WWF as this regional workshop brought three countries together for the first time in the history of bio-diversity conservation, especially of black necked crane. He informed that the WWF has a conservation project for the conservation of High Altitude wetlands. The project initially started in Ladakh, in
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