In 2008 ICF and the Tibet Plateau Institute of Biology (TPIB) began a Black-necked Crane wintering ecology study near the proposed Xietongmen copper mine located adjacent to and within Tibet’s Yarlung Zangbo River Middle Reaches Black-necked Crane Nature Reserve, a national level nature reserve. The goal of the project is to determine the Black-necked Crane population, distribution and habitat use near the mining site, in an effort to help mitigate impacts on the cranes during the mine operation.
In January 2007 ICF and TPIB conducted a preliminary population survey near the mine site. In winter 2008-09 the researchers returned to this area to conduct five surveys on crane abundance and distribution in and around the mining site and for the whole Shigaze Prefecture. In addition, mortality of Black-necked Cranes related to power-line collision was studied. About 600-800 Black-necked Cranes were estimated during the surveys in and around the mining sites, and for the whole Shigaze prefecture, a total of 2,636 Black-necked Cranes were recorded.
For the up-coming field season (October 2009-April 2010), the researchers are planning to place three satellite transmitters on Black-necked Cranes in the study area and will continue the crane abundance and distribution surveys and mortality study related to power-line collisions.