, June 16 (ANI): The population of Sarus crane in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh is fast dwindling due to illegal poaching.
Designated as the official bird of Uttar Pradesh, the Sarus crane is the tallest of the cranes, standing six feet tall.
According to a study by the Bombay Natural History Society, the concentrations of the birds are highest in Mainpuri and Etawah districts of the state.
Around 30 percent species of cranes used to come to the Etawah bird sanctuary due to which in 2000, a Sarus crane protection centre was set up here.
Visitors from far flung places also used to come to watch the birds.
But now due to illegal poaching, the population of these threatened species has come down drastically.
"Every year, around 5000 population of Sarus cranes used to come here and apart from that around 20,000 other species of cranes also used to come here. They used to stay in night and fly away by dawn as poachers hunt them during daytime," said Suresh Kumar, a local resident.
Rajeev Chauhan, President, Society for Conservation, said that apart from poaching negligence by wildlife officials and scarcity of water are other factors, which often leads to death of the cranes.
"The bird has been lying dead for the past two days but no forest officials has bothered to come and take the dead bird. People who come to the field just take a look at the bird and leave. There is no arrangement for drinking water for these birds. So we just pray to god that some one takes care of the water problem so that these birds can live," he added.
Listed in Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the number of Indian Sarus crane have declined greatly in the last century and it has been estimated that the current population is only 10 percent or even just 2.5 percent of the numbers that existed in the 1850s. By Prabhakar (ANI)