Lumbini hosts sarus crane festival to raise awareness on the endangered birdAccording to conservationists, the number of the threatened species has been decreasing in the country in recent years.
With an objective of preserving sarus cranes (Grus antigone), the world’s tallest flying bird, the Lumbini Development Trust organised a sarus cranes festival.
The sarus cranes festival was organised on the premises of World Peace Pagoda in Lumbini. It was the first festival of its kind dedicated to the species.
“Sarus cranes’ conservation has become quite challenging now due to the increasing use of insecticides and pesticides in the fields, human encroachment and shrinking cultivable land,”said Abdhesh Kumar Tripathi, vice-chairman of the trust. “The festival thus was organised to raise awareness among people about the importance of its conservation,” he added. Aside from garnering visibility for the bird species, the festival has also worked as a platform to attract tourists to the Lumbini area.
The sarus crane is mostly found in the Indian Sub-continents and in Nepal, where Lumbini is its major habitat. The large non-migratory bird was enlisted in the IUCN red list of threatened species in 2000 after its population dwindled.
According to conservationists, the number of the threatened species has been decreasing in the country in recent years. They said live electricity wires and stray dogs are major threats for sarus cranes. The birds are at risk of being electrocuted when they come in contact with live electricity wires and become prey to stray dogs while on the fields foraging for food.
Talking to the Post, ornithologist Hemsagar Baral said that there could be around 500 sarus cranes in Nepal at present. Among them, about 300 are found in Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts.
During the festival, a photo exhibition of the bird species was also organised. The festival also organised a drawing and essay writing competition among the students of various secondary schools in the area on the theme of bird conservation.
The Lumbini Development Trust had signed an agreement with International Crane Foundation of the USA in 1994 and involved in sarus crane conservation in the area.