Zemithang, Jan 5 (ANI): Seven Black Necked Cranes (BNCs) have been spotted in Zemithang Valley in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh much to the delight of the local denizens.
The winged guests, seen during the last two months, come during winters before returning after about a month.
The cranes were spotted by Lham Tsering of Pangchen Lumpo Muchat Community Conserved Area and Kokti of Pangchen Lakhar Community Conserved Area, the only two community conserved areas in the state.
One of the seven birds is only a year-old and took the first flight to India from breeding site.
There was concern among the conservationists as the number of BNCs was comparatively reducing. Only three birds were recorded in Zemithang during the same period last year. Thus, the increase in its number this year is encouraging considering the species highly endangered.
The BNCs is the only high altitude crane amongst the 15 species found in the world. During breeding season, it is confined to high altitude wetlands and marshes in Quinghai-Tibetan Plateau and from eastern Ladakh to Sichuan province.
The wintering population of the crane is found in lower altitudes in Quinghai, on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and in north eastern Bhutan.
Zemithang Valley is one of the only two wintering habitats for Black Necked Crane in India.
The villagers with the support of WWF-India have been actively working for conservation of rare wildlife found in the area, including Red Panda, Himalayan Black Bear, Musk Dear, Leopard etc.
These winged guests are also benefiting the villagers economically as they have set up campsites and home stay facilities in Lumpo and Muchat villages for tourists with the help of WWF-India.
The BNC is classified as vulnerable (VU C1) on the IUCN Red List 2003, listed in Appendix I of CITES, Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) and listed as 'threatened' by Birdlife International.
It is also one of the 28 bird species selected as a priority for CEPF investment. It has been categorized as a Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972), of the Government of India. (ANI)
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