The magnificent and statuesque Demoiselle Crane (Grus virgo) is a soaring migratory bird and is considered a vagrant in Kuwait, with only eight confirmed records for this species. The first record was of four birds in 1954 and the last record was of three birds in 2012, so they are certainly not common nor annual visitors to Kuwait.
Demoiselle Cranes migrate in large flocks on a narrow front via specific routes and may travel vast distances without alighting to rest or feed. The autumn migration begins in late summer and generally they would only pass by on thermals high overhead, but occasionally bad weather or strong headwinds would force them to land to rest.
Like many other migratory birds, Demoiselle Cranes are under threat from habitat loss and degradation from agriculture across its range, as well as building of dams and drainage of wetlands, but also from shooters along their migration route and this was brought to light just this week.
The scenario before the cruel crime that recently took place along the Gulf Road was that a single young (juvenile) Demoiselle Crane observed walking along the pavement near TGIF on Gulf Road – it was probably exhausted and had been separated from the flock – but it looked healthy, walking and feeding oblivious to the cars rushing by on this very busy road.
Probably not many motorists even noticed this magnificent crane and that it was the ninth record of this species for Kuwait, but there were a few that did notice and admire a bird that they had probably never seen before.
Two videos then surfaced on social media, the first video showed the bird walking and feeding along the grass verge next to TGIF which is just fantastic. But, then the second video is made public, probably by the same person(s) as the first, where the bird is shown dying on the ground and the person filming laughs loudly as the bird exhales its last breath and all of this in broad daylight.
What is more distressing is that there are many caring people and NGO’s doing so much to make positive changes in Kuwait and then it all feels like it is undone by this kind of appalling and despicable act.
By Mike Pope