COME winter and the debate over saving the Siberian crane intensifies. Even as the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, is preparing to welcome these rare birds, international crane experts are planning to build a new home for the cranes in islands on the Brahmaputra river in Assam. The Siberian crane is one of the most endangered species. Today, there is only one breeding pair and several non-breeding cranes in the basin of the Kunovat river, Siberia. Even the flight path of the migratory birds are not safe as they are being hunted with guns as well as with slings and stones as they fly over war-torn Afghanistan.
The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, is planning a new flyway over Nepal, beginning from the eastern end of the Hindu Kush mountains, in order to avoid Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the rapidly decreasing numbers of cranes visiting Keoladeo has led experts of the Siberian crane-range countries to shift research on cranes from the park to Fereydoon Kenar in the south Caspian region of Iran.
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