TEHRAN — What was described as the "last remaining" member of a flock of cranes that has flown to Iran from Siberia every winter was recently spotted on Iran's northern Caspian shore, confirming environmental officials' fears that the pack is virutally extinct.
This was said to be the seventh year it had flown 4,000 kilometers toward marshlands in the district of Fereydunkenar, and the daily Sharq reported that when birdwatchers no longer see this particular bird — which has been dubbed Omid in Persian, or "Hope" — "it will be the definitive end" of this migrating group, which numbered in the hundreds in the 1960s and 70s.
It stated that three such birds came to Fereydunkenar in 2007: One was shot, and one of the remaining pair may have been shot the following winter. The latter was, unfortunately, a female with which the remaining Omid could have mated.
The daily reported that Siberian cranes divide into three packs when migrating in winter, and the "western pack" comes — or rather, came — to Iran. The bird's monogamous lifestyle and the disappearance of marshes were cited as the main threats to its existence.
Photo: A Siberian crane in India — Francesco Veronesi