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Minus One elegant and graceful Black-Necked Crane

28 Dec 2010 Author ugeent

Like any other Black-Necked crane, he was born in the summer roosting area in Tibet. His birth was a greatest boon to the families as well the custodians of their species since their numbers cling on to last 11000 in the world and 500 to be exact in Bhutan. From his birth itself, he was showered with greatest love and care by his parents ensuring his proper upbringing. Within few weeks, he was dancing, running and flying around with his tender wings.  

That winter he joined his parents on their annual migration: mission Bhutan in the south. He has never known such long-distance journey they need to undertake. Had it not been the encouragement from his parents and the winds which he used to float, he would have given up few hours into flying. His pair of inexperienced wings almost failed to serve it purpose having never in his life flew so long. However, after many days of flying, he reached their southern roosting ground in Minjay under Lhuentse Dzongkhag.

They had option of their roosting ground in Phobjikha or Bomdeling but his parents chose the area in Minjay owing to less competition since the place is not known to many of them. They landed safely and were enjoying their abundance picks. Nonetheless, it is never the nature of the cranes to let loose their guards. His parents took turn to keep eye for dangers when they feed. They initiated the immediate flight at the slightest sign of danger.

 One day, they bumped over presence of small pile of grains probably left behind during paddy threshing. They were engrossed in feeding and took the safety for granted. That's when; from the corner of their eyes saw the stone flying directly towards them hurdled by a cowboy. They had split of second to act. The father of the crane announced the coming of stone by trumpeting at his loudest call and all reacted by getting airborne.

The parents realized their mistake of letting their guards down only when they saw from the sky that their son remained on the ground. The shooter happened to be an aced one and landed to the most vulnerable spot – the head. Left with no option, the crane couple was left to rue their action.

Message of the story: Such careless actions from the local people can be attributed to lack of knowledge on the importance of birds. Later, the killer found carcass of the bird unpalatable and left it to rot.  From then on, the visits in winter to roosting ground in Minjay became irregular. The coming of 5 nos in this winter can be tagged as 'return of cranes' after the incidence. The death was a biggest loss to the crane parents but more important to the conservationist in the backdrop of their endangered status.    

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