UPL continues its commitment to biodiversity conservation with its Ninth Annual Sarus Crane count


Combined efforts of UPL, the Forest Department and the community have resulted in a significant rise in the Sarus Crane population from 500 in 2015-16 to 1431 in 2023-24

Gujarat, 26 th June 2024: UPL Ltd., a global provider of sustainable agricultural solutions, conducted
the Ninth Annual Sarus Crane Count, coinciding with the summer solstice, the longest day of the
year. In 2023-24, the count recorded a total of 1431 Sarus cranes, marking a significant increase of
186% since 2015. The summer solstice aligns with the period when most wetlands and marshes dry
up, leading to large congregations of Sarus cranes at the remaining perennial water bodies, which
provides a unique opportunity to accurately assess the population.

The Indian Sarus Crane, the tallest flying bird globally and categorized as vulnerable under the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, traditionally inhabits wetlands and
shares spaces with humans. It relies on agricultural fields for feeding and breeding. The decline in
the number of wetlands and the deterioration of existing habitats are considered to be the main
reasons for the Sarus’ decline. To conserve Sarus cranes, UPL initiated the Sarus Conservation
Program in 2015. The UPL team worked closely with farmers, correcting misconceptions and
behavioural attitudes toward Sarus through education and voluntary participation.

Speaking about the success, Shri Abhishek Samria, (IFS) DCF, Kheda, said, “As part of the 9th Annual
Sarus Crane Count, Matar Taluka of Kheda district has been the flag bearer for the highest number of
Sarus Cranes, and continues to maintain its record in the district and the state. The joint efforts of
the Forest Department and the UPL Sarus Conservation Program have demonstrated the critical role
of community involvement in species conservation outside protected areas. These collective efforts
from all stakeholders are essential for conserving and protecting wildlife species that co-exist with
human population. UPL’s commitment to this program and the enthusiastic participation of the
community have been pivotal to our success in Sarus crane conservation. Another key highlight of
this year’s annual Sarus count is the use of technology. The Merlyn bird app was used for the census,
which is a remarkable milestone in the conservation efforts.”

Mr Rishi Pathania, Vice President – CSR, UPL Ltd., said, “The Sarus Crane Program is a testament to
UPL’s commitment for species conservation. It is heartening to see the positive impact of our
collaborative efforts, creating a thriving environment for the Sarus Crane and communities alike.
This initiative in Kheda and Anand districts has helped Gujarat to hold the second-highest wild
population of Sarus in India, and we have seen a 186% rise over nine years.”

Speaking on the count, Dr. Jatinder Kaur, Program Manager – UPL Sarus Conservation Program, said,
“We conducted the count to get insights into the population dynamics and habitat preferences of
Sarus cranes. Major congregation sites included Narda Wetland with 293 Sarus cranes, Traj Wetland
with 189, Pariej Wetland with 155, and Gobarapura with 74 cranes. The effort covered 164 villages
across fifteen talukas of both the districts.”

The count was a collaborative effort involving 99 volunteers from various groups, including 23 from
Rural Sarus Protection Groups, 28 UPL Employee volunteers, 7 staff from the Social Forestry Division
of Nadiad and Anand, 18 volunteers from the Voluntary Nature Conservancy, 8 students and
professors from local colleges, and 12 government school teachers.

In addition to its conservation impact, UPL has received widespread recognition for its Sarus
initiative, earning accolades such as the ACEF Asian Leaders Forum & Awards 2017, India CSR
Leadership Summit 2017, Coffee for Cause: Conversation on Sustainability & CSR 2018, Dainik Jagran
CSR Awards 2019, 17th Federation of Gujarat Industries (FGI) Awards 2021, 5th Indian Chamber of
Commerce, Social Impact Awards 2023, and an Appreciation Plaque in 2023.

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