Welfare Of The Tallest Flying Bird In The World

Background:

Sarus Crane is a bird of wetlands. It is the tallest flying bird in the world. The cranes are generally seen in pairs and in flocks.

Objectives:

  1. To ascertain the exact limits of the distribution of Sarus crane.
  2. To find out the habitat requirement of the Sarus Crane.
  3. To estimate the total number of Sarus Cranes in India.
  4. To find out people’s attitude towards the Sarus Crane.
  5. To record information about migratory cranes wintering in India.

Methodology:

Linear transects were taken on field and a questionnaire was prepared to carry out the survey.

From the total number of Sarus seen along transects the estimate of the number Sarus for a particular area was derived.

Observations:

  • The earlier distribution of Sarus (from Sind in the west to Burma border in the east and Kashmir in the north and Godavari basin in the south) has narrowed down to mainly 4 states namely Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. In most of the other regions it occurs sporadically or has disappeared from these areas.
  • Wetlands play an important role in the life of the Sarus. They serve as primary food source and ideal nesting habitats. Sarus utilizes cultivated areas for foraging and fallow lands and wastelands as gathering and loafing points but they are not found far away from water. It was observed that in the areas where the birds were numerous, the maintenance of large wetlands was a major factor contributing to the wellbeing of these birds.
  • Most of the areas that supported good Sarus numbers were noted to be backward areas of the country.
  • In some areas like Rajasthan, Gujarat and west and central Uttar Pradesh the Sarus is given partial or full protection while in other areas like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and east Uttar Pradesh it is considered as destroyer of crops or hunted for meat.
  • The Sarus appeared to reside in areas where industrialization is localized and intensity of agriculture and population density are low.

Discussion:

The welfare of the Sarus Crane is dependent mainly on the status of wetlands and protection given by people. Today our wetlands are subject to pollution, utilization for industrial or agricultural purposes and other threats. The Sarus is not found away from human settlements. If the local people regulate their use of wetlands and give protection and shelter to the birds, the wetlands could be utilized by both people and birds.