Disney Conservation Fund Commits to “Reverse the Decline” of Siberian Cranes

Siberian Cranes at Poyang Lake, China.In honor of its 20th anniversary, the Disney Conservation Fund today announced a targeted philanthropic strategy to help protect the planet by collaborating with leading nonprofit organizations to help threatened wildlife and inspire a lifelong love for nature in young people. The new initiative, called Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time, is aimed at reversing the decline of 10 threatened species through scientific research, strategic action, and community engagement, and increasing the time kids spend in nature to inspire them to care for the planet.

Disney’s investment in the International Crane Foundation will help protect Siberian Cranes, one of the 10 focus species. Cranes are iconic birds, especially in China, where the Siberian Crane winters before traveling to its breeding grounds in northern Russia. The Siberian Crane is critically endangered due to the loss of wetland habitat along its migratory route. Disney is supporting work to monitor and protect the relevant wintering, stopover, and breeding sites along the birds’ more than three-thousand-mile migration path.

“We are thrilled to receive this support from the Disney Conservation Fund. This project will build on over 15 years of research by the International Crane Foundation and our partners in East Asia to address the threats to Siberian Cranes and ensure a future for the world’s most endangered crane,” said Jim Harris, Senior Vice President and Director of East Asia Programs.

As part of Reverse the Decline, Disney is supporting a network of leading conservation nonprofit organizations, including the International Crane Foundation, to develop and implement strategic plans that aim to reverse the decline of 10 animals, including elephants, butterflies, coral reefs, monkeys, great apes, sea turtles, sharks and rays, cranes, rhinos and tigers.

The International Crane Foundation will use Disney’s invaluable support to monitor and protect Siberian Cranes along their entire flyway. We will place cell phone transmitters on individual cranes to track their migrations and discover important and unprotected habitats along their flyway. In China, we will work to preserve critical water level changes needed by the cranes at Poyang Lake, where nearly all Siberian Cranes winter. We also will test water and food resource management at Momoge, a critical migration stopover site in northeast China where most of the cranes gather in spring and fall to rest and refuel. Finally, with the help of an amphibious vehicle with big, soft tires, we will expand our research in the fragile Russian tundra from a handful of nesting pairs to 10 percent of the breeding population.