IT THE novel idea of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, clicks, there will be more Sarus on the Uttar Pradesh firmament.
The WII has mooted money and certificate incentives for farmers who would inform the Forest Department about Sarus nests and eggs on their land. “They will also have to ensure the safety of eggs and nests,” said WII scientist Dr BC Choudhary.
Choudhary, who was recently at the Dudhwa National Park (DNP) to attend the IBCN (Indian Bird Conservation Network) workshop, said the experiment had yielded fruits in Rajasthan and the same project would be launched here on an experimental basis.
He said, “Sarus is a bird of unprotected forests and they mainly live on fields and lay their eggs and build nests”. He added therefore it was necessary to take farmers into confidence.
The move would be an added advantage to the effort of the UP Government to increase the population of its State bird. Along with farmers, the effort would be to collect addresses of panchayat presidents so that they too could become part of the endeavour, he said.Wildlife activist Suresh Choudhary, who has been working to protect Sarus eggs, said nesting of the bird near Kannauj was safe, while the one in Lakhimpur Kheri was not. In Kheri villagers was consuming the eggs.
“As most villagers are illiterates, they need to be told about the significance of Sarus in their lives,” said Suresh. He welcomed the WII idea to give incentives to farmers and involve them in the protection of Sarus eggs and nests. He, however, warned that villagers should be educated first. He said the sighting of Sarus with their offsprings was necessary to establish increase in their numbers.
“And Sarus pairs without off-springs means the situation is alarming,” he added.
Another major plan that the WII was undertaking was that of conducting a survey of peafowls in the country. Dr Choudhary lamented that it was pathetic that peafowl being such an important bird in the country, no survey had been done to increase its number. “I have sent letters to hundreds of the people across the country, seeking their responses on protection and conservation of peafowls,” he added.