36 Sarus cranes die from electrocution in Lumbini area


By Laxman Poudel,Bhairahawa, June 16: The existence of Sarus crane (Antigone Antigone), one of the world’s rarest birds found in the Lumbini region, is in danger due to electric current flowing through wires on the electric poles.

A survey conducted in the wetland areas of Rupandehi, Nawalparasi, and Kapilvastu under the Greater Lumbini region revealed that 36 Sarus cranes died due to electrocution.

The Nepal Zoological Society and the Tribhuvan University Central Department of Zoology collaborated on the survey, which highlighted the endangered status of the Sarus crane, an endangered species, due to the presence of electric poles.

Zoologist Dr. Hem Bahadur Katuwal, who led the survey, said that the research revealed a new fact — the birds are dying due to electrocution on electric poles.

The study also demonstrated that urbanisation has a negative impact on these rare birds. “There is a need to consider ways to mitigate the adverse effects of urbanisation,” said Katuwal.

Throughout the survey, a total of 652 Sarus cranes were recorded in the Greater Lumbini area. The Sarus crane is included in Nepal’s list of rare protected bird species.

Bird researcher Dr. Katuwal reported that the survey was carried out in the wetland areas of Kapilvastu, Rupandehi, and Parasi districts of the Lumbini province with financial support from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nepal and the International Crane Foundation.

According to Dr. Katuwal, the survey, conducted by 14 teams comprising 28 individuals, identified 200 cranes in Kapilvastu, 382 in Rupandehi, and 70 in Parasi.

Between last April and May, the teams conducted a large-scale systematic survey in 93 five-kilometer grids in the Lumbini area.

Especially, the survey included Jagdishpur artificial lake and Bajha lake in Kapilvastu,

Bishnupura in Rupandehi, Gaidahwa lake, Khadaiya Brink Kiln, Duimuhan, Majhigaun, Aurdhauli East, Babai Durga temple, Azamghat, and Nandan lake in Parasi.

Dr. Katuwal explained that the study team aimed to determine the total number of Sarus cranes, their geographical distribution, and the challenges involved in conserving their habitat.

They also sought to understand the relationship between Sarus cranes and humans, as well as the opinions of local residents regarding Sarus crane conservation. “Using a predictive model, we estimated that approximately 4,500 square kilometers (6,659 sq km) of Nepal’s total area has suitable habitat for the Sarus crane,” Dr. Katuwal said.

Hari Prasad Sharma, the General Secretary of the Nepal Zoological Society, expressed that based on the study’s findings, they will discuss the conservation of Sarus cranes at the policy level.

Prof. Dr. Kumar Sapkota, Chief of the Central Department of Zoology, pointed out that the study identified important threats, including the agricultural landscape, the lack of wetlands, and the drainage of wetlands for construction purposes.
The Rising Nepal

 

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