Bhairahawa, Apr. 25:
Siberian cranes that in the past dotted the landscape of the Lumbini wetland areas are at receiving end following the fast disappearance of such wetland areas.
The bird habitat situated at forest area of Lumbini Development Fund and the wetland areas surrounding it came under the threat due to the disappearance of wetland each year.
The Fund had created Crane Protection Area by forming an artificial wetland area to protect the birds.
The wetland areas started disappearing gradually after the locals flocked their cattle for grazing at the area.
According to bird expert Dinesh Giri, the Fund had established the protection area by forming artificial wetland area with an aim to secure the habitat and increase the number of birds.
The Crane Foundation along with the Fund had initiated the ambitious plan to form the artificial wetland area after the natural ones disappeared, he said adding that the unsystematic construction of physical infrastructures around the area was also responsible behind the gradual decline of wetland area.
Giri, who spent his time in Lumbini to study different species of birds, said that the use of pesticides to kill fish in the wetlands by the locals had not only polluted the area but also posed threat to the lives of cranes.
The Crane Foundation and Lumbini Development Fund had agreed to allocate 14, 40,000 metre square space near Peace Stupa as a habitat for the birds for 50 years in 1994.
Rajendra Suwal of Lumbini Sarus Crane Protection Association said that the task of protecting the birds as well as their habitats could not be forwarded after the Crane Foundation stopped its assistance to the project.
According to the data of Crane Foundation, only 500 cranes were found in Nepal in 2002 while the total number of the bird around the world was 15,000.
Giri said that the number of this species of birds in Nepal might have shrunk to 350 as of now.