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In Arunachal, picnickers, feral dogs threaten black-necked crane wintering site

A combination of local picnickers, tourists, feral dogs and high-tension wires has impacted one of the only two wintering grounds of the black-necked crane in India.

Both these grounds are in Arunachal Pradesh – at Sangti Valley in the West Kameng district and at Zemithang in the adjoining Tawang district.

Called thung thung karmo in the local tongue, the black-necked crane is highly revered in western Arunachal Pradesh. People believe that they bring good luck and indicate a good harvest and overall prosperity.

Reverence

Wildlife experts in the State have pointed to multiple threats to the black-necked crane, the largest migratory bird, despite the reverence it enjoys. The threat is particularly in Sangti Valley.

Divisional forest officer of West Kameng’s Bomdila Division Chukhhu Loma said there had been a drastic decline in the size of the flocks and the duration of the birds’ stay in Sangti Valley. Compared to almost three months of nesting in the past, some 10-12 birds have been staying for a week or two in recent years.

He noted that some locals and conservations have listed a few factors – a large inflow of tourists ever since the valley was tagged as a tourist hotspot, picnic parties from within the State, high-tension wires running through the paddy fields the birds prefer and feral dogs that chase the birds.

“Without any concrete guidelines to follow, tourists rush to get pictures of the bird from up close. This agitates the birds and affects their foraging,” Mr. Loma pointed out, recounting an instance when a black-necked crane got electrocuted.

Initiatives

Forest officials have undertaken some initiatives such as making the local villagers and headmen understand the need to regulate the flow of tourists, especially for the duration of the birds’ stay, and discourage excess human activities in the vicinity of the back-necked cranes.

“Strict measures are needed to not lose these vulnerable, majestic migratory birds,” Mr. Loma added.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 8:14:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-arunachal-picnickers-feral-dogs-threaten-black-necked-crane-wintering-site/article37837168.ece

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