Joint action by China, India and Bhutan called for
To save the highly endangered species, their high altitude wetland habitats need to be conserved
Black Necked Cranes:Conservationists are seeking a regional initiative and collaborative action from China, India and Bhutan to save the endangered black-necked cranes.
The call to save the endangered bird species that roost in the Tibetan plateau in summer, and China, India and Bhutan in winter, was reiterated on November 22, when World Wildlife Fund’s officials of India, Bhutan, Pakistan, China and Nepal discussed saving wetlands in high altitudes.
Conservationists say that the 11,0000 black-necked cranes in the world are facing shrinking habitats, owing to the loss and degradation of wetlands, and changing agricultural practices in both its breeding and wintering grounds.
WWF’s head of high altitude wetlands conservation programme in India, Pankaj Chandan, said it was important for scientists from these three countries to work together and monitor the cranes.
“Since the cranes are migratory, it’s equally important for all three countries to contribute for its protection,” he said. “One country’s attempt to save it won’t make sense if there is no equal effort. This conservation effort should go beyond political borders, and black-necked cranes could serve as a goodwill ambassador within the region.”
Bird Sherub of Ugyen Wangchuck institute for conservation and environment, who is conducting a study on the transboundary migration of cranes, said such regional collaboration is vital for knowledge and resource sharing for species conservation.
He also said regional collaboration is important to conserve habitats at landscape level to protect other species depending on wetland. “Besides black-necked cranes, numerous other species of the wetland could be also saved,” Bird Sherub said.
WWF’s program officer in China, Kelsang Norbu, said regional collaboration is a must to save the black-necked cranes, as there are incidences in China, where nesting grounds were lost because of increase in water level due to glacier melt. “It’s important for us to preserve the habitat in all three countries,” he said.
Black-necked crane habitat, conservationists say, could serve as an indicator of climate change.
Pankaj Chandan said he did a comprehensive study on wetlands in Ladakh, India, where there was incidence of water level in wetlands increasing because of glacial melt, and wetlands drying up because glaciers are drying. “Wetlands are like water towers, and it’s important to save them to save the cranes, ” he said.