800 endangered storks perish

INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL RESCUE

Mon 22 September 2008 14:03 UK — Asia,Birds

Hundreds of Buddhist Indian villagers performed a unique funeral ritual for more than 800 endangered storks, after the 200-year-old tree in which the birds were nesting collapsed.

The Asian open bill storks died after the banyan tree that served as their colony crashed into an adjacent pond inside a Buddhist monastery in a Banglung village, which is around 300km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

The stork is a resident breeder in tropical southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka to south-east Asia, and Banglung village had one of the largest colonies in Assam.

It is a broad-winged soaring bird and breeds near inland wetlands and builds stick nests in trees, while its diet consists of frogs and large insects.

Mr Goswami, a wildlife warden in the area, told sify.com: “The way the villagers responded to the deaths of the storks by informing the wildlife authorities is a heartening thing at a time when people are less worried about protecting endangered species.”

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Filed under biodiversity, environment, extinction, nature, wildlife, zoology

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