Conservation

 

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Crane Conservation by EAZA institutions

 

There are many conservation projects for cranes in Russia, Asia, Africa and the USA, which are supported by several organizations and often coordinated by the International Crane Foundation. Info can be found on lots of internet sites. On this site however I would like to concentrate on conservation projects for my EEP's and supported by EAZA institutions.

The main European sponsor for Crane Conservation (> 200.000 US $) in this moment is Crax International. This foundation initiated and supports in- and ex- situ conservation projects for cracids in South-America. Since the early 90's this foundation is also involved in Crane breeding and conservation.

Crax International is supporting directly Crane projects in China (Black-necked Cranes) and Russia (Siberian Cranes) and by their financial support to ICF they are involved in most of the other Crane conservation projects. Thanks to their financial support I had (and still have) the opportunity to visit most of the important international Crane meetings and conservation projects.

                                         

Red-crowned Crane - Grus japonensis

 

 

 

In eastern Russia reintroduction projects are going on for Red-crowned Cranes. In the Amur region birds are being released in Khinganski Nature Reserves and in Muraviovka Park. Eggs for these project are sent by some USA zoo's and in 2002 for the first time 4 eggs were sent from Zoo Doué la Fontaine (France) to Khinganski. After a long travel with eggs being transported in a carry-on incubator to Khingansk and additional incubation, 3 chicks hatched and were raised by the staff of Khinganski Nature Reserve. The birds have been released to join the wild population. Together with the eggs a special amount of money has been donated for staff, veterinarian care and monitoring the birds once they have been released.  More eggs will be sent in the following years. Moscow Zoo and Oka Crane Breeding Centre have sent chicks to Khingansk in 2002 and will continue their support.

Oka Crane Breeding Centre is located in the Okskii Biosphere State Reserve. This wonderful wetland reserve is located about 300 km SE from Moscow in Brycken Bor, Lakash (Ryazan region), along the Pra river. In this breeding centre rare Russian Crane species are being bred for reintroduction. By their financial support, Crax International is covering the yearly operation budget for the Oka Crane Breeding Centre. On behalf of Crax International I'm travelling to Oka at least once a year. The friendly staff from Oka every time gives me the feeling of coming home.

Siberian Crane - Grus leucogeranus

 

 

The staff in Oka Crane Breeding Centre is using a special chick rearing technique, which was developed for Whooping and Sandhill Crane release projects. This technique is known as “isolation” or “costume” rearing. By using this technique a larger number of chicks can be reared at one time. This ensures proper imprinting and through human avoidance conditioning, the chicks will become afraid of humans. A costumed human, who’s using a puppet crane head and sound equipment with crane voices, supervises the chicks. Every day the birds are taken for a walk to a wetland area where they can swim and learn to find their own food. After 2-3 months the chicks are transported to the breeding grounds and released near the wild Siberian Cranes to join them on migration. In 2002 a group of Crane specialists and an Italian hang-glider pilot started the project Siberian Migration. By following Angelo d'Arrigo with his hang-glider, six captive born, parent- and isolation reared, chicks were shown a safe migration route from Western Siberia to Kazachstan. (See for details: SCFC News Briefs)

Crax International is financially supporting Siberian Crane breeding and release projects. At the Cracids & Crane Breeding Conservation Centre most genetic important bloodlines are kept for breeding. Surplus eggs will be used for reintroduction projects. Parc Paradisio (Cambron, Belgium) is also supporting these projects with money and eggs.