Wednesday, Dec 03, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
Dr. Archibald, also the founder-director of the International Centre for Crane Studies, has been working on the cranes of India for some time. He attributed the decreasing population of the Saurus variety to increased use of pesticides and high-tension wires in their migratory path.
"The migratory birds are not allowed to cross the Indian border. Five thousand or 6,000 birds are being shot at and captured in Pakistan when they cross the route. The simple reason is to keep them as pets or gift them to friends. This has added to the decline in their population." He, however, denied that they were killed for meat.
Cranes were relatively easy to keep in captivity, but they needed a lot of care.
"The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History has a lot of challenges ahead. With migratory cranes flying in large numbers to India from all over Asia, there are many opportunities for organisations such as the SACON to join others in saving the crane population. India is a land of gifted biologists. It is time we taught the new generation to save the birds." Dr. Archibald said his organisation was helping the Indian Crane Working Group check the decline in the population, working on conservation projects. "We will also extend our support to the Wildlife Protection Society of India in their conservation efforts." The only way of bringing the cranes back to India was to familiarise them with the migratory routes. "We tried releasing the birds into India, but they did not migrate. The best way out is to work with some of the world's best power hang-gliders, which move the way the cranes do. The birds will follow them. Even ultra-light aircraft can be used and the sounds of the cranes recorded. These are some of the techniques which can bring the Siberian cranes back to India."
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