The Status of Sarus Crane in Nepal

Posted on July, 21 2023

21 July 2023, Kathmandu: WWF Nepal conducted a discussion program on the ‘Status of Sarus Cranes in Nepal’. During the program, the findings from a research on Sarus Crane status which was conducted by the Nepal Zoological Society, in collaboration with the Central Department of Zoology at Tribhuvan University, and supported by WWF Nepal in partnership with International Crane Foundation were presented. The presenters were: Dr. Hari Prasad Sharma, a faculty member at the Central Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University, Dr Bishnu Prasad Bhattarai, a Conservation Biologist and Assistant Prof. at the Central Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University and Dr Hem Bahadur Katuwal, a young, dedicated researcher actively involved in the research and conservation of birds and mammals in Nepal since 2010.

Academics, researchers, CSOs, faith leaders and press were in attendance of the event which also saw the release of the video, “Green Lumbini: where spirituality meets conservation”. WWF Nepal launched the Clean and Green Lumbini Initiative in 2010, and since then, the number of Sarus Cranes in Nepal has climbed from an estimated 350 to over 700.

“We should explore avenues for UN agencies to support research work like this. Research is often undercut from budgets, but it is crucial so institutions like WWF and UN should support research. Congratulations to WWF for supporting this research” said Ms. Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labé, Director of UNDP.

Sarus Cranes have a legendary connection with Buddhism as well. As a young boy, Prince Siddhartha rescued a Sarus Crane and saved its life. This is an age old story that connects faith and humanity while invoking sentiments for the mutual coexistence for all life forms. Biologically, Sarus Cranes are an indicator for healthy wetlands. Through our work on the conservation of wetlands and the protection of Sarus Cranes, WWF Nepal hopes to pave the way for faith based conservation in Nepal.

“The right to life belongs to everybody” remarked, Venerable Metteya, the Vice Chairman of Lumbini Development Trust speaking of Sarus Crane Conservation.

“The teachings of buddha will continue in Lumbini, but what we might loose is the bird that signifies Buddhism. But we should always keep hope alive. Sarus crane is crucial to continue the legacy, of Buddha and we must work together to achieve success as we did with tiger conservation.” Said Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung, Country Representative, WWF Nepal.

The event ended with an appreciation of the Sarus Cranes and their ecological significance and connection to faith.
Discussion session on 'Status of Sarus Crane in Nepal'.
Discussion session on 'Status of Sarus Crane in Nepal'.
© WWF Nepal/ Gayatri Pradhan