Phurpa Lhamo | Wangdue

Phobji and Gangtey valley in Wangdue this year has 439 black-necked cranes (BNC) including 41 juveniles as of December 9. 

Manager at BNC Visitor Centre in Phobjikha, Santa Lal Gajmer said that the first batch of five BNC arrived on November 7 this season. Of the five, one was a juvenile.

The cranes start arriving in the valley by the end of October. The cranes will continue to fly into the valley—one of its winter roosting grounds in Bhutan—until end of December.

By end of April next year, the endangered species will return to the summer roosting grounds in Tibet.

Manager Santa Lal Gajmer said that the final count of the birds would be done by early February next year.

The centre today is also home to two injured cranes. Crane Karma has been in the centre since 2016. The injured crane brought recently from Trongsa has also been put in the enclosure with Karma and is recovering.

“Karma and the injured crane are separated by a fence. We’re not sure when the injured crane from Trongsa would fully recover. But we think the bird can fly,” he said.

It has sustained injuries on its wings. The crane was rescued from Khamey in Langthel, Trongsa with minor injuries on December 3.

Today, the valley is also witnessing an increasing number of local tourists. Last month, the centre saw more than 500 visitors.

The centre is today still challenged with an increasing number of feral dogs in the valley.

Santa Lal Gajmer said that sterilisation programmes were held every year to address the issue.

Apart from feral dogs, leopard and wild dogs are major predators in the valley.

The country recorded 587 BNC last season.