A saras crane couple in the family way has found surprise caretakers in the people of Ganasar village. This village is eight kilometres away from Motown Sanand, reports Times of India.
To safegaurd two eggs laid in a farm, locals have turned the one-acre agricultural field into a makeshift ‘artificial wetland’, filled it with water brought in pots and with a makeshift canal. Villagers are keeping an almost day in and day out vigil so that the two eggs are not attacked by wild animals or dogs.
The farm is owned by one Bachubhai Thakore. It has become the most visited spot by villagers, who are brimming with excitement over the likely hatching of the eggs anytime next week.
Saras cranes are a critically endangered species. In the last census by the State Forest Department in 2010, there were 1,900 of them in Gujarat. The number is feared to have declined to around 600 though a formal count has not taken place in the past decade.
The village’s collective effort for the safety of the birds is commendable. For the past one month, they have done everything possible to ensure that the eggs are not harmed. This is the only plot where machines were not used and harvesting was done by hand.
The Saras crane is the tallest flying bird in the world standing 152-156 cm tall with a wingspan of 240 cm. It has a predominantly grey plumage with a naked red head and upper neck and pale red legs. It weighs 6.8 to 7.8 Kgs. It is a social creature, found mostly in pairs or small groups of three or four. Known to mate for life with a single partner, its breeding season coincides with heavy rainfall in monsoon. Nests are constructed on water in natural wetlands or in flooded paddy fields. Usually a clutch has only one or two eggs, which are incubated by both parents for a period of 26 to 35 days. The juveniles follow their parents from the day of birth.