Black-Necked Crane | 24 Feb 2021

Why in News

Recently, a group of Buddhist monks in Tawang district has opposed the Arunachal Pradesh government’s renewed push for hydropower projects.

  • The proposed projects would not only affect the nesting grounds of the endangered Black-Necked Crane but also threaten several holy Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Both the sexes are almost of the same size but male is slightly bigger than female.
    • The upper long neck, head, primary and secondary flight feathers and tail are completely black and body plumage is pale gray/whitish.
    • A conspicuous red crown adorns the head.
    • The juveniles have a brownish head and neck and plumage is slightly paler than that of an adult.
  • Special Significance:
    • The bird is revered by the community of Monpas (major Buddhist ethnic group of Arunachal Pradesh) as an embodiment of the sixth Dalai Lama (Tsangyang Gyatso).
      • Monpas inhabit the West Kameng and Tawang districts, are essentially Buddhists who follow the Mahayana sect.
  • Habitat and Breeding Grounds :
    • The high altitude wetlands of the Tibetan plateau , Sichuan (China), and eastern Ladakh (India) are the main breeding ground of the species, the birds spend winter at lower altitudes.
    • In Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, it only comes during the winters.
    • In Arunachal Pradesh, it can be seen in three areas:
      • Sangti valley in West Kameng district.
      • Zemithang in Tawang district.
      • Chug valley in Tawang district.
  • Threats:
    • Damage to the eggs and chicks, caused by feral dogs.
    • Loss of habitat due to human pressure (Development Projects) on the wetlands.
    • Increased grazing pressure on the limited pastures near the wetlands.
  • Steps for their Conservation:
    • World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir, has been working towards conservation of high altitude wetlands, with black-necked cranes as a priority species in Ladakh region.
      • In Arunachal Pradesh, WWF is working for the conservation of the small wintering population.
  • Protection Status: