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Sarus population fails to pick up in Ghaziabad

The Sarus crane is generally found in agricultural fields, marshlands, lakes and other water bodies. Such areas are conducive for foraging, roosting and nesting.

noida Updated: Sep 08, 2017 16:34 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Noida,Ghaziabad,Sarus crane
The Sarus survey revealed that only two cranes were sighted near Murad Nagar, a trend witnessed since 2015.(Sunil Ghosh/HT File)

For the past three years, the population of Sarus crane _ state bird of Uttar Pradesh _ has not seen any increase in Ghaziabad district. This year too, the Sarus survey revealed that only two cranes were sighted near Murad Nagar, a trend witnessed since 2015.

The district forest officials attribute the reason to the shrinking water bodies and wetlands which are conducive for serving as habitat for Sarus cranes (Grus Antigone). In nearby district of Hapur, the officials said that they found 10 juveniles and another 29 adults during the survey conducted near Garhmukteshwar which is situated on the banks of river Ganga.

“In Ghaziabad, we hardly have any officially declared wetlands as per norms. Apart from this, we have smaller 568 wetlands or water bodies, including 336 in Modi Nagar and another 232 in Ghaziabad. But these wetlands are very small, generally measuring anything between 0.2 hectare to 0.5 hectare of area,” said BP Singh, district forest officer, Ghaziabad.

The Sarus crane is generally found in agricultural fields, marshlands, lakes and other water bodies. Such areas are conducive for foraging, roosting and nesting.

The instance of sighting of just two Sarus cranes, which is also know as the tallest flying bird, is prevalent since 2015 near Rawli Surana Road in Murad Nagar. Officials added that five Sarus cranes were sighted around one and half years back on the border of Ghaziabad and Baghpat but they moved into the latter district.

On the contrary, the adjacent district of Gautam Budh Nagar has more than 120 Sarus crane sightings this year and officials said that they have found encouraging trend and found nearly 10 new nests.

“The 120 figures include juveniles too. The new nests found show encouraging trend. They are majorly found in Dhanauri, Surajpur and nearby wetlands. They thrive in wetlands and their protection is must. The government of UP has sent a proposal to the Central Government for declaring 542 wetlands in the state,” said HV Girish, district forest officer, Gautam Budh Nagar.

According to officials, the state has an estimated Sarus crane population of over 14,000 and majority of their hotspots are near Etawah, Mainpuri, and Khiri. According to WWF-India, their population is now on the decline with only 15000-20000 found in India, a majority of which are in Uttar Pradesh.

Apart from the minimal sighting of Sarus in Ghaziabad, the vultures have almost become extinct. The officials said that they have not sighted vultures in Ghaziabad for past several years altogether.

“The prime reason is due to curb on open slaughtering. The cattle owners earlier injected diclofenac sodium to cattle. This content affected the cattle and also the vultures who consumed the dead bodies. The effect of diclofenac sodium damaged the kidneys of vultures, leading to their deaths,” said Dr Bijendra Tyagi, chief veterinary officer, Ghaziabad.

In Gautam Budh Nagar, the officials have similar issues with vultures and said that any sightings were due to migratory vultures coming in.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 16:34 IST