Sarus Crane Nesting Sites Decline In Uttar Pradesh

A Sarus Crane pair
Ramki Sreenivasan

There has been a large decline in the number of nesting sites observed in Etawah district in Uttar Pradesh. Wildlife activists and forest officials are trying to ascertain the reasons. It appears to be a hidden conflict between farmers and the birds. Analysis shows that 64 percent of the land owned by farmers happened to be in wetlands. Only 36 percent was outside of wetlands. Shortage of agricultural land, inappropriate land management practices and poverty are said to be reasons behind the disturbance to the Sarus habitat. A large number of empty or damaged Sarus nests were found in paddy fields, as compared to the wetlands. A few villagers admit to destroying nests in order to cultivate paddy crops. The Sarus has been known to historically co-exist with farmers, but this appears to be changing. The Sarus Crane is the state bird of Uttar Pradesh.

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