Sangty Valley awaits arrival of rare black neck cranes

The rare bird, locally known as Dhung Dhung Karma, sets up its winter home in the valley, situated at Dirang in West Kameng district, from November till February every year to escape the bitter cold in the Upper Himalayas.

Located at a distance of eight kilometres from Dirang, Sangty Valley is known as a bird’s paradise, especially for the migratory variety which likes its friendly climatic condition.
The valley is credited with being the only wintering site for the black neck crane in the lower Himalayas, but the birds are facing problems due to tourists who flock in great numbers to look at them.

Records say that the exotic species used to visit two other places till 1970 - Apatani Plateau in lower Subansiri district and Papu Valley in West Kameng district.

However, they abandoned the sites due to rapid change in the land use pattern.
"In the absence of protection and conservation, these migratory birds are facing problems from tourists who chase them for taking photographs," lamented Lham Thupten, a bird enthusiast from Sangty Village Other inhabitants of the valley said last year only three black neck cranes had been spotted.

In 2005, official records say, nine migratory birds died in the valley after coming into contact with live electric wires.

Though the district administration had proposed to realign the electric wires passing through the valley, no initiative had been taken.Local people, known as Monpa, see the arrival of the birds as harbinger of good harvest and happy times for them. Inhabiting the West Kameng district, the Monpas are known for their disciplined and frugal lifestyle.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife and Bio-diversity) J L Singh said,
"Undertaking proper conservation method like habitat enrichment and minimum human activity, the valley could attract more birds and thus become an important tourist destination."The valley could also find a place in the wildlife tourist map of the world if proper care was taken, he observed.

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