CITES Announces Suspension of Crowned Crane Trade

Take Action! Share this film and spread the word that Grey Crowned Cranes need our help!

In response to the plight of the Grey Crowned Crane and in support of CITES, ICF and EWT are proud to announce the release of the new video Grey Crowned Cranes Need Our Help!

This four-minute video is an important tool for raising awareness of the severe threat that trade poses to the species’ survival and helps address one of the greatest needs: alerting captive facilities, wildlife authorities and the public about actions they can take to safeguard this charismatic species.

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*On our donation form, please enter “African Crane Trade” in the Other category to designate your gift to this project.

ICF media contact: Kate Fitzwilliams, Marketing/PR Specialist, 608-356-9462 ext. 147

An announcement, detailing the suspension of trade in Black Crowned Cranes from Guinea, Sudan and South Sudan and trade in Grey Crowned Cranes from Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, has just come out of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) Conference of the Parties 16 currently underway in Bangkok, Thailand.

Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Guinea, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan all underwent a full review, conducted by the CITES Significant Trade Review Process, of their wild caught Black and Grey Crowned Crane trade in order to determine the impact of this trade on their wild crane populations.  This  CITES suspension is in place until the country in question can prove that export will not be detrimental to the wild population and that they are able to successfully monitor export permits granted and actual exports, with the goal of limiting exports in order to maintain the species.

Nigeria was included in the final review, and has been removed from the CITES Significant Trade Review process as the Management Authority of Nigeria has not issued an export permit for commercial trade of the species since 2005. The reason for this course of action is due to the fact that there is no reliable population data for the Nigerian species.  Furthermore, the Management Authority has not, to date, registered or recognized any captive-breeding facility for any wild animal species. Therefore, until further notice, any permit originating from Nigeria for captive-bred species of wild animals is illegal and should not be accepted.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the International Crane Foundation (ICF) were instrumental throughout Trade Reivew Process as they supplied CITES with crucial data about the state of trade in cranes on the African continent.

Said Kerryn Morrison, Manager of the ICF/EWT Partnership’s African Crane Conservation Programme: “We welcome the decision from CITES as these species of cranes are under very real threat from live trade, partly because they are in high demand – they are unique looking, iconic of Africa, and tolerate being displayed in groups and with other species – but also because there are fewer effective controls in many of their countries of origin. In addition, many of the players involved in the demand and supply sides of this trade still believe that these species are plentiful. Without urgent attention, this trade could lead to loss of these birds from much of Africa.”

The cranes are removed illegally from the wild, usually as chicks, for the captive trade market.  In some cases, this involves domestication where cranes are kept in private gardens, around homesteads and in hotel gardens.  There is however, a big demand for the species in captive facilities around the world where they are either placed in private breeding facilities or in mixed exhibits in captive facilities open to the public where they add value to savanna exhibits.

“Nowhere in the world are captive crane populations managed sustainably at this time.  The African Crane Trade Project is, however, working with formalised zoo associations in Africa, North America, China and Europe to create managed programmes that aim to develop and manage sustainable populations of Grey Crowned Cranes, thus alleviating the need for wild caught cranes to supplement captive stock.  Note though, that only 1,200 zoos of the 12,000 estimated captive facilities around the world belong to these formalised zoo associations. Therefore, it is clear that more urgent attention must be paid to communicating to, and educating a far wider stakeholder group involved in the captive trade,” commented Morrison.

About the ICF/EWT Partnership

Download "How Zoos Can Help" fact sheetThe ICF/EWT Partnership for African Cranes is working with local conservationists to protect Grey Crowned Cranes in Africa and address the growing threat of illegal trade in the species. The African Crane Trade project focuses on reducing the impact of the captive crane trade on wild cranes by targeting supply within Africa and demand both within Africa and globally. Efforts focus on understanding the complex supply and demand chains that affect cranes; creating awareness of the status of Africa’s resident cranes and the threat that trade poses to wild populations; and advocating for changes in policies and legislation that govern the trade in cranes, both locally and internationally.

Learn more about the African Crane Trade project and download our How Zoos Can Help fact sheet to learn how zoos can become involved.

For more information on the ICF/EWT Partnership:

Claire Mirande
Senior Director of Conservation Networking
International Crane Foundation
Tel: 608.356-9462 ext. 122

Kerryn Morrison
Manager, African Crane Conservation Programme
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 (0) 11 372 3600/1/2/3 Cell: +27 (0) 82 877 5126