The red-headed crane, a symbol of Tram Chim National Park in Tam Nong district, Mekong delta Dong Thap province, were spotted to have less visited the area than the previous years.

According to local people, every year, red-headed or sarus cranes flock to Tram Chim after the Lunar New Year festival when the flood waters recede.

However, since the beginning of 2013, only 50 red-headed cranes have returned to the park - down 50 percent from the same period last year.

The park’s managing board said that the cranes muster in areas of the 7,600 hectare park where their favourite food, water chestnuts, can be found. But the food source is disappearing because of the changing natural environment.

Nguyen Van Hung, Director of Tram Chim National Park, said 50 returning cranes is very low compared to the 1,052 birds that came to the park in 1988, referring to climate change and shrinking wetlands as other causes of the fall.

This decrease in numbers is of alarm, for the ecological balance of the wetlands and the national environment. The number will continue to fall if urgent measures are not taken.

To deal with the situation, we need to do is improve the cranes’ habitat in Tram Chim National Park , where their food, water chestnut, grows, Hung said

Then management, especially the management of water sources, should be strengthened, so as the park will welcome the return of hundreds of red-headed cranes in the coming time, he added.

The red-headed crane, with an average weight of 7-15 kilos, is listed in the World Red Book of endangered species. The preservation of this rare bird needs more efforts of not only national but international scientists and managers.-VNA