Man-made Pond Invites Black-Necked Cranes

Developed by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) last September, the pond ensures the safety of the winged visitors at night.

The Black-necked crane festival held in the Phobjikha valley annually. (Source:


A family of black-necked cranes, a pair and two juveniles were spotted roosting in an artificial pond in Uruk, Bumthang.

The pond – developed by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN)

Developed by the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) last September, the pond ensures the safety of the winged visitors at night.

According to the RSPN’s Senior Project Officer for the Black Necked Crane Conservation, Jigme Tshering, a stray dog killed an adult crane in Uruk last year while a red fox killed two cranes in 2014.

The most common predators of this endangered birds are stray dogs, red foxes and leopards.

How the pond help the black-necked cranes

“Considering the high risk of attack from the predators, we built ponds which are one of the best ways to keep the crane safe,” said Jigme Tshering.

“The water ripples and sound from the water alert the cranes at night.” The ripple and water splashes are created when the predators enter the pond.

“The cranes prefer roosting in the pond for easy escape from danger,” said Jigme Tshering.

“Black-necked cranes require shallow ponds to roost in safely.”

The pond was developed with the help of the local community of Uruk

The 20×20-metre pond was developed with the help of the local community of Uruk. The pond was developed using a stream that flows through the 40-acre wetland.

The RSPN officials said that from 22 cranes that were spotted in the winter of 2014-2015, only six returned last winter.

Given the good experience from the artificial ponds development at the Phobjikha valley in Wangdue, the RSPN applied their experience to Bumthang.

“There are three artificial ponds in the Phobjikha valley that provide good roosting grounds for the cranes,” said Jigme Tshering.

“With this mechanism in place, attack on the cranes has drastically reduced.”

Benefits of the pond

As of now, 499 black-necked cranes have arrived in their winter home. Phobjikha has the highest with (383).

Bumdeling in Trashiyantshe so far recorded 90, seven in Khotokha in Wangdue and three each in Tang in Bumthang and Dungkar in Lhuntse.

“Looking at the arrival rate, it is likely that more cranes might arrive this winter,” said Jigme Tshering.

Black-necked cranes usually arrive in the country in late October and return to their summer roosting place in Tibet by the end of February.

In the summer, most of the cranes roost at Yamtso Yumtso and Bamtso in the Tibetan plateau.

Considered a threatened bird, it is estimated that there are around 11,000 black-necked cranes in the world. Efforts are being made to conserve the bird.


By Tenzin Namgyel (This article has been edited for the New Bhutan Times)

This article first appeared on Kuensel.



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