Province No. 5: The Lumbini Development Trust organized a Sarus cranes festival to preserve Sarus cranes (Grus antigone), the world’s tallest flying bird. The Sarus Cranes Festival was held on the premises of the World Peace Pagoda in Lumbini. This is the first festival of its kind dedicated to the species.
Vice-chairman of the trust, Mr. Abdhesh Kumar Tripathi said-” Sarus cranes conservation has become quite challenging now due to the increasing use of insecticides and pesticides in the fields, human encroachment, and shrinking cultivable land.” He added the festival was organized to raise awareness among people about the importance of its conservation. Aside from garnering visibility for the bird species, the festival has also worked as a platform to attract tourists to the Lumbini area.
The sarus crane is often found in the Indian subcontinent and Nepal where Lumbini is its main residence. Large non-migratory birds were included in the IUCN red list of endangered species in 2000 when its population declined.
According to conservationists, the number of threatened species has been declining in the country in recent years. The birds are at risk of being exposed to the electrical wires when they come in contact with live electricity wires and become prey to stray dogs while on the fields foraging for food.
Mr. Hemsagar Baral, an ornithologist, said-” There could be around 500 sarus cranes in Nepal. Among them, about 300 are found in Kapilvastu, Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts.”A photo exhibition of the bird species was also organized during the festival of the birds. The festival also organized a drawing and essay writing competition on the theme of ‘bird conservation’ among the students of various secondary schools in the area.
The Lumbini Development Trust signed a contract with the United States International Crane Foundation in 1994 and engaged in stork crane protection in the area.