The Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) in collaboration with the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany yesterday tagged a crane and freed it from Phobjikha under Wangduephodrang dzongkhag. Its safe landing has been confirmed.
The crane which was tagged with state-of-the art GSM was released from Phobjikha at around 11am. Its safe landing was reported in Kangmar provinces of Tibet at 1 pm.
According to the report maintained by the UWICE the journey by the crane from Bhutan to Tibet took about two hours in its straight line journey.
“We have gaps in understanding the flyway corridor for the cranes coming to winter in Bumdeling,” said an ornithologist, Sherub. He said in 2014 they have plans to tag three more cranes in Bumdeling which he said will also help them to know the winter habitat used by cranes in Bhutan.
Further, he said that this is the newest technology which will help the ornithologist to better understand the bird’s movement and spatial use of habitats in summer and winter.
The report also says that the Researchers are intimated of the crane’s arrival through e-mails sent by the on-board GSM tags that was carried by cranes
The cranes are tagged with state-of-the-art GSM enabled GPS tags which sends out SMS messages through e-mails every evening of its location to researchers at Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment who are collaborating with the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany.
Lack of information about the cranes has hampered the understanding of how to conserve the birds and this technology would reveal for the first time, exactly where the birds spend the winter and just how brief a time these so called Black-necked Cranes actually spend in Bhutan.
The tags that are carried by the crane which enable the monitoring of these high altitude migrants in real time is donated by the Max-Planck Institute based in Germany and each tags costs about 3000 Euros.
The information collected from such experiment will be used for understanding crane biology and help illustrate how cranes cross the high Himalayas.
The information will be further used to develop strategies for better conservation and habitat assessment and also safeguard the iconic trans-Himalayan species.
Phobjikha is one of the prime wintering habitats of the black-necked crane and reportedly the institute has recorded 335 cranes in the area as of 16 January last year. Of the 335 cranes that arrived in Phobjikha last year, 51 were identified as young fledglings.