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CONSERVING SARUS CRANES IN INDIA



  Jun 07, 2024

CONSERVING SARUS CRANES IN INDIA



Sarus Cranes (Grus Antigone) in India have benefited from long-standing cultural and traditional values of farmers. There are 15 crane species in the world, out of which the Sarus crane is the only resident species found in India. The major population of Sarus cranes is found in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. They are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

CONSERVATION CHALLENGES

Local Threats

• Egg Mortality: High mortality rates of eggs.

• Land Use Change: Transformation of agricultural land affecting crane habitats.

Broader Threats

• Industrialisation: Expansion of industrial areas encroaching on natural habitats.

• Climate Change: Alterations in climate patterns affecting crane survival.

ADVANTAGES OF TRADITIONAL AGRICULTURE

• Positive Farmer Attitudes: Farmers’ traditional practices and positive attitudes toward the cranes offer significant conservation advantages.

• Paddy Fields as Habitat: With natural habitats declining, Sarus cranes have adapted to sub-optimal habitats like paddy fields for survival.

SARUS CRANE CONSERVATION PROGRAMME IN GUJARAT

Key Features

• Location: Kheda and Anand districts in Gujarat.

• Focus: Conservation of Sarus crane population and building partnerships with the forest department and community.

• Education and Sensitisation: Educating farmers and local communities about the importance of Sarus conservation.

• Capacity Building: Enhancing the ability of local communities to sustain conservation efforts.

Implementation

• Status Documentation: Monitoring the status of the Sarus crane population.

• Identification of Sites: Identifying important roosting, breeding, and congregation sites.

• Threat Investigation: Studying threats to the cranes and their habitats.

• Awareness Campaign: Conducting 521 sensitisation programmes involving 58,665 community members, including farmers, teachers, and students across 40 villages.

• Volunteer Formation: Establishing 88 Rural Sarus Protection Group volunteers in the villages.

Outcomes

• Population Increase: Sarus numbers increased from 500 in 2015 to 1254 in 2023.

• Farmer Involvement: Farmers played a key role in conservation efforts after being sensitised to the benefits of Sarus conservation for pest management.

SIGNIFICANCE OF FARMER SENSITISATION

• Biodiversity and Agriculture: Farms and biodiversity can coexist harmoniously. By practicing sustainable, modern, and informed methods of agriculture, both farms and biodiversity can thrive.

• Natural Defence Against Climate Change: Conserving biodiversity is essential for mitigating the impacts of global warming.

By sensitising farmers and making them aware of the benefits of biodiversity conservation, initiatives like the Sarus Crane Conservation Programme demonstrate that agriculture and conservation can work hand in hand for a sustainable future.



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