It was love at first sight when our Sarus Crane pair, Chandini and Majnu, were introduced over a decade ago.
Chandini, or “moon” in Hindi, hatched in 2002 at the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida, arriving at our headquarters a year later on a breeding loan. Majnu was 40 years old at the time and was single, having lost his previous mate to old age (Majnu, whose name has come to mean “madly in love” in India, is currently the oldest bird in our flock).
When our staff introduced Chandini to Majnu, the two cranes immediately bonded, and the pair has since produced two chicks together. We are breeding this pair through our participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Sarus Cranes, which we classify as Vulnerable and in need of protection. To ensure that the captive population remains genetically healthy, zoos often transfer birds to other facilities on a breeding loan. Usually, birds remain on loan throughout their lifetime, but this is not guaranteed.
International Crane Foundation member, John Swamy, recently helped make our headquarters Chandini’s forever home in the name of his late sister, Liz, who passed away in 2016. John and Liz spent many summers with their father’s family in India. Inspired in part by this heritage, the opportunity to ensure Chandini’s well-being was a perfect match. Thanks to supporters like John, our flock – and especially Chandini and Majnu – continue to thrive.
Click here to learn about our South/Southeast Asia Program, and how we are safeguarding Sarus Cranes in the wild.