International Crane Foundation


Dr. K.S. Gopi Sundar, Director SarusScape Program

Protecting Cranes in India

South Asia is famous for its large human population, growing development needs, and wildlife-human conflict. Gopi’s work since 1998 in an unprotected agricultural landscape is unique in showcasing high species diversity alongside intensive farming. This includes the largest known Sarus Crane population in the world! His PhD dissertation work at the University of Minnesota demonstrated that landscapes with long histories of agriculture and high human populations do not necessarily lead to areas with very low species diversity. Traditional farming methods aid persistence of many bird species, but retaining habitat amid the growing need for agricultural land remains a priority. This work, and ongoing discussions with state and federal governments, and conservation organizations, provides focus for our immediate and longer-term work in the region.

The new program, SarusScape, is headed by Gopi and will focus on the landscapes where the Sarus Cranes reside. The new program will continue to use robust science, and will rely on multi-disciplinary approaches, and long-term planning to achieve continued preservation and restoration of the cultural values and wetlands that have aided crane survival for so long.

Learn more about our work in the Upper Ganges in India

Photo by Nandhakumar
Scientific Publications:

Sundar, KSG & S Kittur 2013. Can wetlands maintained for human use also help conserve biodiversity? Landscape-scale patterns of bird use of wetlands in an agricultural landscape in north India. Biological Conservation (December 2013), 168: 49-56.

Sundar, KSG & S Kittur 2012. Methodological, temporal and spatial factors affecting modelled occupancy of resident birds in the perennially cultivated landscape of Uttar Pradesh, India. Landscape Ecology (2011), 27: 59-71. doi:10.1007/s10980-011-9666-3.

Sundar, KSG 2011. Agricultural intensification, rainfall patterns, and large waterbird breeding success in the extensively cultivated landscape of Uttar Pradesh, India. Biological Conservation 144: 3055-3063.

Sundar KSG 2011. Farmland foods: Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus prey items in an agricultural landscape. Forktail 27: 98-100.

Sundar KSG & S Subramanya 2010. Bird use of rice fields in the Indian subcontinent. Waterbirds 33 (Special Publication 1): 44-70. (Invited paper)

Sundar, KSG 2010. Cranes, cultivators and conservation. (In M.D. Madhusudan & M. Rangarajan (eds.) Nature beyond borders). Seminar 613: 34-37.

Sundar KSG 2009. Are rice paddies suboptimal breeding habitat for Sarus Cranes in Uttar Pradesh, India? The Condor 111: 611-623.

Sundar KSG 2006. Instances of successful raising of three chicks by Sarus Crane Grus antigone pairs. Forktail 22: 124-125.

Sundar KSG 2006. Flock size, density and habitat selection of four large waterbirds species in an agricultural landscape in Uttar Pradesh, India: Implications for management. Waterbirds 29: 365-374.

Sundar KSG & BC Choudhury 2006. Conservation of the Sarus Crane Grus antigone in Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 103 (2-3): 182-190.

Sundar KSG, GP Clancy & N Shah 2006. Factors affecting formation of flocks of unusual size and composition in Black-necked Storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus in Australia and India. Emu 106: 253-258.

Sundar KSG 2005. Effectiveness of road transects and wetland visits for surveying Black-necked Storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus and Sarus Cranes Grus antigone in India. Forktail 21: 27─32.

Sundar KSG 2005. Observation of mate change and other aspects of pair-bond in the Sarus Crane Grus antigone. Journal of the Bombay History Society 102: 109-112.

Sundar KSG & BC Choudhury 2005. Mortality of sarus cranes Grus antigone due to electricity wires in Uttar Pradesh, India. Environmental Conservation 32: 260-269.

Sundar KSG 2004. Group size and habitat use by Black-necked Storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus in an agriculture dominated landscape in Uttar Pradesh, India. Bird Conservation International 14: 323─334.

Sundar KSG 2004. Mortality of herpetofauna, birds and mammals due to vehicular traffic in Etawah district, Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of the Bombay History Society 101: 392─398.

Sundar KSG 2003. Notes on the breeding biology of Black-necked Storks Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus in Etawah and Mainpuri districts, Uttar Pradesh, India. Forktail 19: 15─20.

Sundar KSG & BC Choudhury 2003. The Indian Sarus Crane Grus a. antigone: A literature review. Journal of the Ecological Society (India) 16: 16-41.

Sundar KSG, J Kaur & BC Choudhury 2000. Distribution, demography and conservation status of the Indian Sarus Crane (Grus antigone antigone) in India. Journal of the Bombay History Society 97: 319-339.

Popular Science and Media:

Wildlife wish list for 2015. Mint. January 9, 2015

The silence of the birds. The Sunday Times. January 4, 2015

A range of wetlands needed for bird conservation: study. The Hindu, November 13, 2013

Sarus finds saviour in wetlands of UP. Deccan Herold, July 21, 2012

Paddy Fields Put Birds to Flight. Livemint. November 8, 2011

Sundar, KSG 2011. Here, conservation is on the house. The Times of India (Section: Green Cover, Feb 25, 2011): 13.

Sundar KSG 2010. Sarus Crane breeding success and cultivation in Uttar Pradesh, India. Current Conservation 3.4: 21-22.

Sundar, KSG 2010. Sparrows, science and species conservation in India.

Sundar, KSG 2010. The bald Phoenix. The New Indian Express.

Sundar KSG 2003. Chambal: Land of the Bandit Queen. Sanctuary Asia xxiii (3), Jun 2003: 34─41.

Sundar KSG & G Maheswaran 2003. Bird of the month – Jan 2003. Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus.

Sundar KSG 2002. Bird of the month – Dec 2002. Sarus Crane.

SundarKSG 2002. Working with the Sarus Crane. WII Newsletter 9(4, Winter 2002).

Sundar KSG 2001. Where the Sarus duet. Sanctuary Asia (xxi Oct. 2001): 62─67.

The ICF Bugle:

Sundar KSG 2011. Changing conservation climates: Sarus Cranes, Rainfall, and New Laws in India. The ICF Bugle 37(4): 1-2.

Sundar KSG 2011. Ghosts of ancestors past: wetland conservation in India. The ICF Bugle 37(2): 6.

Sundar KSG 2010. Sarusscape: A rich tapestry. The ICF Bugle 35(1): 1-2.

Sundar KSG 2008. Rains in northern India bring floods and Sarus Crane nesting habitat. The ICF Bugle 34(3): 7.

Sundar KSG 2008. Uttar Pradesh: An unlikely Shangri-la. The ICF Bugle 34(2): 6.

Sundar KSG 2004. Collaborating for the International Art Exchange: The Indian experience. The ICF Bugle 30(1): 4-5.

Sundar KSG 2002. Seeing life Sarus style. The ICF Bugle 28(4): 4-5.