Jorhat, March 2: A common crane, a migratory bird from Europe, will be ferried all the way from Manas National Park to Majuli soon for being released with a flock of the same species.
The bird, which was injured, had got separated from its flock and was stranded near the park a few days back. At present, it is undergoing treatment at a transit home near Manas. This is the first time a common crane, a migratory Eurasian species from East Scandinavia, has been spotted near the park.
“We have been scanning various parts of Assam and have also sent a message to Bhutan in the past few days to locate a flock of common cranes. We finally located one at Majuli. We will release the bird, which is recovering, with the flock very soon,” Rathin Barman of Wildlife Trust of India told The Telegraph today. He said if the bird is not released near a flock of the same species, it may not be able to return on its migratory route. Barman said common cranes have been spotted in eastern Assam —Majuli, Panidihing, Dibru-Saikowa wildlife sanctuary and even Orang National Park — but this is the first instance of one being spotted at Manas.
A crane’s migratory path during winter includes China, Vietnam, Burma and the Indian subcontinent in Asia.
Barman said the bird could have strayed owing to injury or it is also possible that common cranes have been coming to Manas but have escaped the notice of researchers.
He said the flock in Majuli has about 100 members and has been spotted in various parts of the island in the past few months. “Common cranes generally arrive in this part of the world in November and leave by March. We have to release the bird within the next few days before the flock returns,” he added.
The bird, about one-and-half years old, was admitted to International Fund for Animal Welfare-WTI’s Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation last month and is being looked after by veterinarian Panjit Basumatary.
Residents reportedly found it at Bhunkipara. Members of Raigajli Ecotourism Society, an NGO, collected the bird and handed it to the centre.
“The bird was dehydrated and had several injuries when it was brought to the centre. It has recovered and has started taking small flights. As it is a migratory species, its release is complicated compared to the birds we generally handle,” said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, regional head of WTI.