A flock of Black necked cranes was spotted in Buna, Ranjung, under Trashigang dzongkhag, on December 9. This is the first time the endangered birds have been seen in this location.
People and forest officials at Rangjung were surprised to see two Black Necked Cranes roosting on the paddy field of Buna. Later, the two solitary birds were joined by a flock of 13 birds.
“We wanted to report about it if they stay here for a day or two,” said Chief Forestry Officer in Trashigang, Dendup Tshering.
But the birds all flew away after roosting for an hour in the paddy fields of Buna.
The forest official with the Ranjung Range office, Yeshey Dorji, first witnessed the birds in the paddy field early in the morning. “Black Necked Crane have blessed Rangjung with the start of winter,” Yeshey Dorji said.
Black Necked Cranes are generally reported from places like Phobjikha, Bumdeling, Lhuentse and Kotokha with the onset of winter.
In 2014, officials with the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) recorded for the first time a flock of Black necked cranes in Thrakthri in Sakteng under Trashigang dzongkhag.
In 2013, two adult Black Necked Cranes were spotted in Minjay gewog under Lhuentse Dzongkhag. They were reported to have been roosting since then within the wetlands of the gewog.
However, it was not the first time that the Black Necked Cranes was spotted in Lhuentse. A group of six was reported in Dungkar, in 2012. The group included five adults and one juvenile. They were found to be roosting in places like Serphu and Tsongsar in Dungkar gewog.
Few years ago black necked cranes were even sighted in places in the southern and warmer plains of Gelephu.
Wildlife conservationist and climate change experts attribute this unusual range shift of animals, to the impacts of increasing global temperatures. As of now experts are without concrete data to determine the range shift but they expect to understand the climate change and their impacts on animals after 10-15 years.
Camera traps are being deployed in varying altitudinal locations within the preserves to monitor animal populations. As per the record with Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, about 609 Black necked crane were counted in the winter of 2015 – 2016.