Are cranes leaving Tram Chim National Park forever?

VietNamNet Bridge – Unable to find food and places to sleep, more and more cranes have left the Tram Chim National Park. Only a few dozen cranes still “reside” at Tram Chim.

Tram Chim, cranes

Nang kim grass in Tram Chim is disappearing, and with it, the cranes, too.

Tram Chim, the national park in Dong Thap Province, was created to protect several rare and precious birds, especially the Sarus Crane (Grus antigone), a species listed in the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red Book.

However, it cannot retain the rare birds anymore because it cannot offer them a good habitat. The living environment has changed too much because of humans’ activities.

Tram Chim in the past was the home of thousands of cranes, but now only some tens of cranes still live there. In the past, cranes spent more time in Tram Chim from January to June but now they stay for just a couple of weeks.

In 1986, scientists discovered redheaded cranes in Tram Chim, a rare bird species that needs strict protection.

However, in fact, cranes are no strangers to Tram Chim’s people. The birds usually flew to Tram Chim in the first month of the lunar year and stayed there to look for food until the middle of the fifth month.

They liked staying in Tram Chim because they could find nang kim grass (Eleocharis atropurpurea), a favorite food of theirs.

According to Dr. Duong Van Ni from the Can Tho University, there are five different nang kim grass species. Nang kim begins developing in rainy season and gets old and fades in dry season.

However, nang kim has gradually disappeared in Tram Chim. When tourists asked where they could find nang kim, the tour guide could not give answers. She had to make a lot of phone calls to ask experts about the information.

Finally, the tour guide found that nang kim could be found in A1 block, about 600 meters away from the C4 station.

When the tourists got to the site, they were surprised that the plants were still green, even though it was in dry season. It was very difficult to find nang kim grass. A small nang kim plot, covering some 3,000 square meters, was found by them after a lot of effort.

A member of the tourist group, a scientist, looking at the grass, said that he believed cranes once got there to look for nang kim. However, he said the nang kim volume available there was just enough for cranes for one day.  

The scientist noted that many things there have changed a lot over the last 10 years, including the habitat for birds.

As nang kim has disappeared, cranes have no more reason to migrate to Tram Chim and stay there. They also cannot find any good place to sleep. They only “spend the night” on high and dry ground. However, there is no more such room for them in Tram Chim.

Nong Nghiep

Tram Chim, cranes