International Crane Foundation

Sarus Crane pair

Upper Ganges

Sarus Crane pair

In northern India, Sarus Cranes and other wildlife thrive among villages and rice fields
watered by the Chambal and neighboring rivers.

Why We Care

Upper Ganges locator mapCalled the “Last Living River in India” the Chambal and neighboring Yamuna River form important headwaters of the Holy River of India, the Ganges. Despite being one of the most intensively farmed and populated areas in the world, the floodplain of the Chambal is home to most of the world’s Indian Sarus Cranes, over 400 species of birds, and a wealth of threatened species, including the rare Gharial crocodile and the Ganges river dolphin.


What We Do

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ICF’s work in the Upper Ganges brings new attention to a substantial region previously neglected by conservation agencies. Our efforts focus on retaining this region’s multiple benefits, including food and water for millions of people whose activities are compatible with biodiversity conservation.

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Click on the links below to learn more about our projects in the Upper Ganges:

india wetland survey1

Mapping distribution, human dependence, and bird use of wetlands in a north Indian SarusScape.



The Chambal and Yamuna Rivers of northern India flow through a rich landscape – one dominated by rice fields, annual monsoons, ancient cultural traditions, and the most populous state in India, Uttar Pradesh. The region also supports the largest known population of Sarus Cranes in the world, hundreds of other birds species, and rare wildlife.

How do these seemingly contradictory elements co-exist, and what can we learn from this region that can be applied to other areas in the world, where cranes and humans are increasingly relying upon the same resources?

Read the Story


Dalmatian pelican, Chambal River

Dalmatian pelican, Chambal River.

Preparing rice field in Uttar PradeshA farmer prepares a rice field for planting in Uttar Pradesh, India.