Talk 1: Tracking the fine-scale movement of Flamingos in the Western-Arid Plains of India.

Speaker: Gaurav Sirola (Wildlife Institute of India)

Across the distribution range of Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Gujarat, India is a stronghold for resident – breeding flamingos. The arid of Gujarat (Great Rann of Kachchh and Little Rann of Kachchh) are essential breeding grounds for lesser and greater flamingos. These breeding areas are designated as Wildlife Sanctuaries (Kachchh Desert Wildlife Sanctuary and   Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary) and hence protected by law. Flamingos use these breeding grounds for a short duration, while the rest of their time is spent in non-protected areas. The non-protected areas are constantly changing to meet the requirements of the exploding human population; wildlife habitats are under immense pressure, both of which pose a direct threat to the associated flora and fauna. With time, changes in land-use patterns are likely to occur. The water bodies, which are the habitats of flamingos, are bound to be affected by the change in land use; hence it is quite essential to identify critical flamingo habitats outside protected area networks.

This study has help determine the breeding grounds of the Flamingo arriving in Kachchh. The fine-scale movement data of flamingos also provide detailed insights on the use of coastal water bodies during the non-breeding period and has help enhance the knowledge of the behavior and ecology of the species. This tracking effort will further help promote the positive conservation activities being undertaken by the Forest Department and also expected to raise awareness of the region.

Talk 2: Movement ecology of Common cranes (Grus grus) in western India: insights from multi-year tracking

Speaker: Harindra Baraiya (Wildlife Institute of India)

The arid plains of Gujarat and Rajasthan in western India support large populations of the Common Crane that arrive from different parts of their breeding range. Few of the wintering sites witness huge congregations of the cranes; these are often species-specific flocks numbering in thousands. In a few places, local people actively protect the cranes and provide grains throughout their wintering period as a cultural practice. While the previous studies shed light on migratory routes of Common Cranes from western India, it is important to put full-fledged efforts to track a more number of individuals for multiple migratory journeys to ascertain migration behavior, crucial high-use areas, drivers of migratory route selection, and wintering and breeding movements.

During 2020, we initiated a Common Crane tracking project in Gujarat, western India, during which we tagged five cranes with GPS-GSM transmitters. The cranes were captured from Nal Sarovar and Thol Ramsar sites in Gujarat. The multi-year tracking data of these five tagged cranes suggested that the wintering population of Gujarat’s Common cranes comes from the breeding grounds of Russia and Kazakhstan through the deserts of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan along the Central Asian Flyway. The migration behavior of the cranes was found to differ seasonally in terms of stopover duration and migration duration. The tracking data analysis identified crucial stopover sites and a migratory bottleneck. The wintering movement data suggested that the variation in home range area between tagged Common Cranes is quite large and is likely attributed to the landscape they are using. The tracking data also highlights habitat connectivity in western India.


The recording is also available on Bilibili: