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Bird spotted

Kokrajhar, Feb. 22: A common crane (Grus grus) was spotted for the first time in Manas.

The bird was rescued few days back from the Kuklung riverine area in Kuklung forest range in Chirang. The villagers of Bhumkipara rescued the bird and handed it over to DFO, wildlife division, Kokrajhar. The bird, about one and half years, is being treated at IFAW-WTI’s CWRC transit home at Choraikhola in Kokrajhar.

Rathin Barman of Wildlife Trust of India said this is the first sighting of the migratory bird in western Assam.

‘Common cranes have been reported from eastern Assam, but this is the first instance of it being reported from Manas. There seems to be no record of the species from Manas, but (in addition to eastern Assam) they are reported from Bhutan and Bengal too, he said.

Dr Panjit Basumatary (Veterinary Surgeon) said the bird has got recovered and releasable to wild.

‘The bird was reportedly found by locals from Bhunkipara in Bijni area of Chirang. Members of the Raigajli Ecotourism Society collected the bird and handed them over to Wildlife Division, Kokrajhar Transit Home. The bird was dehydrated and had several injuries in beak when brought to the centre. It has recovered now and has started taking small flights, he said.

‘As it is a migratory species, its release is complicated as compared to those of the indigenous birds that we handle. Our efforts are on to locate a flock in the area as well as in Bhutan to attempt reunion,” said Dr Bhaskar Choudhury, Regional Head – WTI.

‘The common crane is a migratory Eurasian breeds from East Scandinavia. Its migratory paths, during winter, include China, Vietnam, Burma and Indian subcontinent, in Asia. In Assam, it is sighted in Orang National Park, Majuli, Panidihing and Dibu Saikowa Wildlife Sanctuary, he said.

‘As the reason for its discovery in the area is unclear, it may be too early to add the species to Manas’ already rich bird list. It could have strayed due to injury or it could also be that the birds have been coming to the area but escaped notice of researchers for various reasons. This will need to be studied further,” he said.