Travels with George: Connecting the Birthplace of Buddha with Sarus Crane Conservation

The International Crane Foundation, as a world center for cranes, provides extraordinary learning opportunities as well as inspiration for conservationists from around the world. We’ve been delighted to host several significant visits from China, Thailand, and Nepal this year. Following is the third of three stories on our recent visitors.

The Nepali

venerable_metteya_tree_planting_in_lumbini_nov_1998_400In 1989, the International Crane Foundation’s Jim Harris first visited Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha on the lowlands of Nepal, in company with Research Associate Rajendra (Raj) Suwal. They recognized the significance of the three-square-mile site rich with natural habitats and breeding pairs of Sarus Cranes – the religious harmony at Lumbini was reflected by a natural harmony. Here was an opportunity to communicate to the hundreds of thousands of visitors the spiritual value of pure nature and the importance of saving it. Subsequently, the International Crane Foundation has worked with Raj to create the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary, protecting habitat for cranes and diverse other wildlife on the northern quarter of the land.

Sometimes people are just born to be conservation leaders. The Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta grew up in Lumbini, and has memories of planting trees at the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary when he was a boy – with George Archibald wielding the shovel! He has cherished the Crane Sanctuary lands and Sarus Cranes ever since, and is very concerned about the future of such a special place.

venerable_metteya_whooping_crane_exhibit_400-300Now a Buddhist monk, Venerable Metteyya is devoting his life to the welfare of humans and nature. He founded a school for children from low-income families, is now creating a hospital, and has passionate commitment to the welfare of the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary and its message of hope.

In April we were honored by the visit of Venerable Metteyya and two of his North American colleagues. The International Crane Foundation looks forward to continued collaboration with him in fully expressing the conservation potential of the sacred site.

George ArchibaldStory submitted by Dr. George Archibald, International Crane Foundation Co-founder and Senior Conservationist. Click here to learn more about Conservation Leadership.