Two agencies to help forest department conserve sarus crane habitat in Greater Noida
The Gautam Budh Nagar forest department has decided to partner with International Crane Foundation Asian Nature Conservation Foundationnoida Updated: Feb 18, 2017 22:44 IST
The Gautam Budh Nagar forest department has decided to partner with an American agency, International Crane Foundation (ICF), and a Bengaluru-based NGO, Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), to conserve the habitat of sarus cranes in the district.
The forest department and these two agencies will conduct research, educate local communities and take various steps to protect the habitat of the crane, which is the state bird of Uttar Pradesh.
In Greater Noida, 50 acres of wetlands, located in Dhanauri Khurd, Thasrana and Amipur villages, have emerged as a safe habitat for the crane, which has now been put on the “vulnerable” list of International Union for Conservation of Nature and Bird Life International.
“Our objective of partnering with the two agencies and other stakeholders, including villagers, is to provide a safe, conducive ecosystem to the sarus crane. I have written to the ICF and ANCF seeking their support. To begin with, we will educate school and college students in that area about the dire need for preservation of the crane’s habitat. Later, we will educate other villagers so that we can provide a better habitat to the bird,” said HV Girish, district forest officer (DFO), Gautam Budh Nagar.
Of the 50-acre wetland, 90% belongs to villagers and the rest to the government.
“We need the support of the villagers so that they carry on with their prevailing crop pattern without making any changes to it in the future. This is because farmers grow paddy, wheat and fodder for animals. This three-crop pattern suits this bird because when the sarus breeds, paddy has ample water in fields, providing rich food. We hope with the two teams we will be able to ensure the same ecosystem it enjoys now,” said Girish.
A census conducted by the Gautam Budh Nagar forest department in June 2015 had recorded 104 sarus cranes in the small wetlands, including 10 chicks. In June 2016, the number increased to 124, including 26 chicks.
The habitat conservation project, which has a budget of Rs23 lakh, will also involve documentation of all bird species and their population.
“India has the largest sarus crane population in the world, and 90% of it is in Uttar Pradesh. Therefore, we need to be more cautious and work well in advance so that we can keep the habitat safe for this crane for a long term,” said an official.
The Yamuna Expressway industrial development authority (Yeida) had in April 2016 started the process of declaring the 50-acre wetlands off the 185-km Yamuna Expressway a protected area.
“We are taking support of local authorities so that they do not acquire this land for any developmental work,” said Girish.