Siberian Crane Wintering Area Named One of New "7 Wonders"

ICF media contact: Kate Fitzwilliams, ICF Marketing/PR Specialist,
608-356-9462 ext. 147During a recent campaign by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) to name the “7 Wonders of Endangered Species,” Poyang Lake, China, winter home to nearly all of the world’s Critically Endangered Siberian Cranes, made the cut!

The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) is a network of 88 prominent conservation groups from 35 countries that is calling for support from the global community to protect “AZE sites”, which are locations identified by conservation scientists where Endangered or Critically Endangered species are known from only one place on Earth.

The AZE 7 Wonders campaign received more than 100,000 votes from the public via social media. To choose the seven winners, votes were cast for 20 short-listed sites selected from among the 587 AZE sites so far identified globally.

“Each of these phenomenal sites holds a unique wonder of nature – be it a charismatic bird, frog, turtle, or mammal – that is worth protecting in perpetuity. While today we are announcing 7 Wonders, AZE sites are really 587 wonders around the world,” said American Bird Conservancy’s Mike Parr who serves as Chairman of AZE. “The good news is that some of these sites and species already receive protection through public or private protected areas, but we still need to expand these programs to more places.”

“Many organizations and governments are succeeding in conserving these last unique refuges for the world’s most endangered wildlife. This is really a story of survival, not one of extinction, but we must recognize that many of these species do still need an extra helping hand if they are to survive into the future. This is the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, and a perfect time for us to make a global push to protect the remaining sites in need. Nations are coming together to save the world’s species and wild places through the Convention on Biological Diversity, so there is huge cause for optimism,” Parr added.

Read the full press release and view a full listing of the AZE 7 Wonders winners

 Siberian Cranes, Poyang Lake, China. Photo by Mike Endres/Little Wing Photo

It’s hard to “hide” 3,000 tall, white Siberian Cranes, but that’s what Poyang Lake did for many years until the wintering density of these spectacular birds there became widely known to ornithologists. The lake’s dramatic water fluctuations are key to the wetlands’ productivity, and provide habitat for more than 400,000 total waterbirds in winter. China’s finless porpoise is highly threatened and also found here. Impacts of dams in the catchment, sand dredging, and climate change threaten the lake. AZE member, the International Crane Foundation (ICF) is a leading champion of crane conservation efforts worldwide.

“AZE’s Seven Wonders Campaign is dramatically expressing global interest in conservation of this unique wetland, at a time when its future is very much in doubt,” said Jim Harris, Senior Vice President of ICF. “The positive nature of this campaign makes it especially useful as a support for conservation in China.”

Learn more about ICF’s work in the Yangze River basin