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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
ecology

Preening The Vista

The selfless activities of a band of villagers off Kota get Sarus figures soaring

Preening The Vista
Narendta Bisht
Preening The Vista
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Each day while cycling 55 km to Kota to sell milk, this class 7 dropout leaves his bicycle by the canal to scan the fields for those tall red-headed cranes. After filling in his bird diary late at night, he lies on his khaat listening for the slow korr-korr of returning bird pairs, before allowing his tired lids to drop shut; content that the cranes have landed.

Pappu is part of a rural Sarus Protection Group which has banded together to help save these birds. The Sarus is enshrined in Indian myth and history—it figures in Valmiki's Ramayana, it was a bird sheltered by the Buddha, and adored by emperor Jehangir for its lifelong fidelity to its mate. But in real life now, it is a threatened species. Today, this five-year-young village protection movement is keeping Kota on the map. Not the concrete Kota crammed with IIT coaching classes or the handloom art destination known for its saris and its school of miniature art, but a Kota that is still one of the few Indian townships where you can spot endangered Sarus cranes just 12 km from the city.

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