By Jeremiah Chamakany
Among the fifteen crane species in the world today, the Grey Crested crown is the only specie that roosts on trees and in Baringo County,they have found a home in a private farm within Mogotio Sub –county. In science, they call them the Balearica Regulorum. Every sun set in Mogotio is unique in the sense that if you are a visitor in the region;you are likely to see a cloud that keeps growing bigger and bigger but then you just realize to your own amazement; countless birds are flying in a formation towards your field of vision-,arriving home to roost-They are like B52 bombers returning home after a successful Mission.
The big birds leave Lomanira village each dawn to look for food in as far as Lake Solai but no Lomanira local knows where the birds breed or lay their eggs. This is the endangered Grey Crested Crane; according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] .A study conducted in the year 2012 by the same Authority is heart breaking; it revealed that only 77,000 individuals of this specie remain in the whole world, and their numbers are falling at a fast rate mainly due to their habitat destruction, wetland drainage for agriculture; pesticide pollution among others causes.
In the year 1987,Kenya boasted a total number of about 35,000 Grey Crested Cranes but in a recent census carried out by the National Museums of Kenya; in partnership with Germany’s Nature and Bio Diversity Conservation in the 2019 ;the outcome established that the figure in Kenya has fallen to only about 10,000 Grey Crested cranes!!! Very soon, even during our lifetime if you are reading this, the Grey Crested Crane can disappear from the face of the earth forever!!!!…Baringo County is at least giving the bird a place to sleep, Now Which County will provide the bird with her food and nesting grounds???
During this Sunset in Mogotio; they gracefully lower their ‘landing gear’ as they circle the skies around Loma-Nira Village ,before finally touching down at the home of an old man Mzee Kibusia, who takes pride that his Acacia trees Conservation efforts has finally paid off ,providing a safe roosting home for the endangered bird. Some of his Acacia trees have already assumed some flat tops; having hosted the birds for not less than ten years.
‘’..I feel very proud that Nature itself has appreciated my efforts,Nature is smiling back at me. Acacia trees species in my ten acre piece of land are well protected since the year 1985.I fenced off the land because it’s swampy during rainy season and as a result, the tall acacia tree species thrived. I am proud that the Crane, a sacred bird in my Kalenjin Tribe have chosen my trees because no one disturbs them. This gives me a lot of joy and reason to enjoy life on earth ’’Kibusia who is not aware that his land is hosting an endangered bird told World Water , adding that he is considering the possibility of turning his party land into a Conservation area for the Grey Crested Crane, and other wildlife that have since thrived due to the serenity provided for by the tall trees. In a nutshell nothing really adds more spice to life than a distant honk of a Crane; during the quite Mogotio Nights. Life is just good with the birds around. Many locals around Lomanira Village love the Omnivorous birds. The birds do occasionally appear at their door steps, stamping their feet on the ground on their forward march searching for delicacies; but immediately fly away at the sight of an approaching Human or a dog.
Local administrator Lawrence Cheburet lauds the locals for appreciating the birds, reporting that his public barazas in the region never fails to address the importance of taking care of the trees and even planting more.
”National Parks and reserves are not the only places that can conserve Wild Life,Private farms can also do very well in conserving Wildlife and more awareness is needed to ensure that every citizen contributes to this Conservation endeavour” said the administrator adding that for the last ten years or more, this birds have been coming to his sub Location to sleep but leave every morning to look for food.
”I don’t know where they go and find food but I guess it could be the nearby Lake Solai ,about 90km from Mogotio.That can be only an half hour or less Flight for the big energetic bird’’ said the administrator adding that the presence of the Grey Crested Crane in his area of jurisdiction is great pride.
‘’Young children have the opportunity to marvel at the birds. The birds do sometimes ‘graze’ among livestock in the open farms and even the nearby school playing ground’’ said the administrator; expounding that the bird is harmless since there has never been a conflict between the farmers and the Grey Crested Crane.
All around the world the Crane is celebrated as a bird of beauty.Her elaborate dances and courtship rituals can never be challenged even by humans. In the neighboring Uganda ;the Grey Crested Crane is a symbol of National Pride; even as it is in Tanzania and in Asian Countries; this bird is embraced as a symbol of Eternal Youthfulness. Without showing any signs of old age like humans do,the bird which can live upto 30 years in the wild always looks beautiful, can dance gracefully upto her last day on earth,only if we Humans can make a choice to conserve and protect her habitat!!