bnc_feb2015_TPOn 16th February at 0400 hours, on the eve of Lunar new year, two young local boys aged between 10 to 12 came rushing to RSPN’s Black-necked Crane Visitor Center (BNCVC) in Phobjikha. They had an important message for the officials there. They reported about an adult BNC lying in the open area at the valley floor at Phobjikha. The officials immediately reached the site at 0430 hours and saw few local kids gathered around the injured BNC.

The officials then dispersed the crowd and let the BNC alone in the wetland. It could neither stand and walk away nor make any noise. It then tried to walk for 10-15 meters and again fell down. It was then carried to the local Livestock Officer who examined for any physical injury (bruise or fracture). The sick  bird was injected with an analgesic (painkiller) for quick pain relief. The bird was then kept at BNCVC in a small makeshift house at 0530 hours and fed with wheat and water (The shed built with CGI sheet is located under few pine trees providing adequate shade and with no human disturbance).* Over the next four days the bird was constantly fed and observed by the officials under the guidance of experts.  The bird was getting better each day and it would stand and walk around in the shed. It was also feeding well on the soaked wheat and plenty of water which were fed separately. A small window (1meter x 1meter) was made for the bird to escape in the event it got better.

On the sixth day (21st February at 0900 hours) after 64 long hours of captive rehabilitation and nursing the bird was seen walking in the open areas within the BNCVC campus. The bird was vigilantly watched by the officials for potential attack by stray dogs or other animals. It then walked into the nearby wetlands and then flew towards the valley at 0930 hours. It was indeed a relief to both the bird and the officials at the center.

Until then no BNCs have been spotted in similar condition. Such cases of BNC injury is quite rare in Phobjikha. A crane with injured leg was seen in the valley few years ago.

*NOTE: BNCVC currently doesn’t have any rehabilitation facilities at Phobjikha and our officials are not trained to handle any such cases.

RSPN would like to thank the following crane lovers for their support:

  1. The two young brave boys in Phobjikha for their prompt report
  2. Mr. Sherub, Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment, Bumthang for his advice and inspection
  3. Mr. Singye, Livestock Officer, RNR, Phobjikha, Wangdue Phodrang for his inspection and treatment
  4. Mr. Santa Lal Gajmer, Mr. Gen Kato and Mr. Tashi Phuntsho, RSPN staff at BNCVC, Phobjikha for their patience, vigilance and care
  5. Mr. Tshering Phuntsho, Ms Rinchen Wangmo and Ms. Rebecca Pradhan, RSPN, Thimphu for the coordination.
Report compiled by Tshering Phuntsho
Pictures by Mr. Gen Kato and Mr. Santa Lal Gajmer.