The farm owned by one Bachubhai Thakore is now the most frequented spot by villagers, who are brimming with excitement over the likely hatching of the eggs anytime next week.
Saras cranes are a critically endangered species. In the last census by the state forest department in 2010, there were 1,900 of them in Gujarat. The number is feared to have declined to around 600 though a formal count has not taken place in the past decade.
The village’s collective effort for the safety of the birds is commendable. “For the past one month, we have done everything possible to ensure that the eggs are not harmed. This is the only plot where machines were not used and harvesting was done by hand
to avoid disturbing the birds. Due to extreme summer heat, water had dried in the farm leaving the eggs vulnerable. Villagers first brought water in pots and buckets and later created channels to divert water from a nearby canal to provide a conducive environment to the birds,” said sarpanch Bhojaji Thakore.
It was on May 2 when Thakore was informed of the eggs by avian researcher Desal Pagi. Pagi is excited as the eggs were laid in the off-breeding season. The normal breeding season of Sarus cranes is from July to August.