Arrival of black-necked cranes has drastically decreased compared to last year

Conservation: This year, the number of black-necked cranes (BNC) in Bumthang has decreased drastically while those that arrived have also left their winter grounds much earlier.

The cranes migrate to Chumey, Tang and Chokhortoe during winters. Chumey and Tang received six cranes each while Chokhortoe received none this year.

Forest ranger Tsheten Wangchuk of the Chumey range office said only six cranes came to Chumey this winter. He said there were 16 in 2016 and 22 in 2015. “The number of cranes coming here has drastically dropped and we can’t say if there will be any next year going by the current trend,” he said.

Tsheten Wangchuk attributed the decline in the number of cranes to the loss of their feeding grounds to the developmental activities. “Different machines and increased number of stray dogs disturb the cranes,” he said.

Tsheten Wangchuk said usually the black-necked cranes came to Bumthang by mid November and stayed till early March. “The cranes left the place by the end of December last year,” he said.

Wangchuk Centennial National Park’s senior ranger Tenzin said there were six cranes in Tang, which is an increase of two, compared to last year. There were two in Chokhortoe last year but no cranes arrived this year.

Tenzin said of the six cranes in Tang that arrived on December 27, four already left on February 2.

Lawa, 67, from Domkhar village said there used to be many black-necked cranes in different places in Chumey in the past years. “We hardly see any today,” he said.

Lawa said people used to feel good hearing the melodious voices of these birds and even enjoyed their dances. “It’s sad not many of them are coming here today,” he said.

People said black-necked cranes used to feed at the places where Gaytsa school, Sonam Kunephen School and the Technical Training Institute in Chumey are located today. “The number of cranes decreased since these institutions and some other infrastructures were built in recent years,” an elderly person from Chumey said.

Nima Wangdi | Bumthang