Gondia Nature Association

Vasundhara Mitra

In 2003, the world heard of the shocking news that only 4 Saras (Crane) birds visited Maharashtra, that too, for the last time. Out of these, 2 were sighted at Navegaon Shungarghodi Bund and the other 2 at Junona Lake in Chandrapur. It was strongly believed that their natural habitat was Gondia. Thus, with the help of Satpuda Foundation and Gondia Nature Association, a search has been started from Salkasa to Tiroda (100 kms area) and in the areas around Wagh and Vainganga rivers. Out of those 4 birds, 2 were found in a small boat at Ghattemani (close to Kamag) and the other 2 were found at the riverbed of Wagh River, near Shirola village. As a part of its responsibility, the Association then collected information about these birds from the villagers. It was observed that the number of birds wasn’t increasing due to killing and collection of their eggs. This situation was discussed with the higher authorities in the village, and with the help of the Head of village, the police and socially reputed people from the Harit Sena; the Association convinced the people by educating them about these birds through public awareness programs. With the assistance of activists gathered from different villages, they started the bird protection work. Due to the contribution of these people, the Saras bird is protected and its number has increased from 4 to 63 in Gondia and the surrounding regions (35-40 kms).