Why Cranes? Our Work is About Life on Earth

When you support crane conservation, you support water, plants, renewal, conservation, animals and people. When you support cranes, you support life on Earth. You can make a difference by donating today.


Forty-five years ago a great idea hatched to create a global organization – the International Crane Foundation – focused solely on the study and preservation of the world’s 15 species of cranes.

But, why cranes? With so many important causes to support around the world, why would we focus our mission and vision so narrowly on cranes? Because, when the International Crane Foundation saves cranes, we save so very, very much more!

The work of the International Crane Foundation is about life on Earth. Aldo Leopold called cranes No Mere Bird. Indeed, cranes are symbols of optimism, courage and survival. The dramatic recovery of some crane species from the brink of extinction is evidence that our conservation efforts are working. And cranes are bringing people together in profound ways.

Why cranes? Because they are…

Endangered! With 11 of the 15 species facing extinction, cranes are among the most endangered family of birds on Earth. Our efforts ensure that cranes will always grace our planet.

Cranes provide hope. At the turn of the last century, Whooping Cranes were almost extinct. Thanks to your gifts, Whooping Cranes now number more than 700. Your donations support our efforts to breed Whooping Cranes in captivity, reintroduce them into the wild, secure the coastal marshes of Texas that they depend on, and raise conservation awareness throughout their long flyway.

Crown Jewels of Conservation! Culturally revered across much of the world, cranes are flagships for saving some of the most beautiful, diverse places on Earth. Our efforts to secure Poyang Lake in China benefit thousands of water birds, including most of the world’s population of Swan Geese. And, we support the livelihoods for thousands of fishers.

Indicators! Highly dependent on healthy wetlands and freshwater, cranes are excellent indicators for the state of our environment. To save the Wattled Crane, we are undertaking the largest wetland restoration project in Africa by removing thousands of hectares of invasive shrubs and improving water conditions for cranes and many other rare, threatened species.

Cranes inspire conservation. The International Crane Foundation was honored to be one of the first overseas conservation organizations formally registered to work in China, home to five threatened crane species including Siberian, Red-crowned, White-naped, Black-necked and Hooded Cranes. We continue to deepen our efforts to secure endangered cranes and the land and water they need across some of the most important wetlands of China.

Ambassadors! Traversing international boundaries and uniting people across countries, cranes are ambassadors for international peace and goodwill. Through a shared passion for cranes, we work with scientists and managers from a host of countries where national diplomacy has been strained – North Korea, Iran, Russia and many more.

Despite these gains, we still have much to do. The conservation challenges we face are immense—securing sufficient freshwater, adapting to changing climates, securing vital habitat, reducing power line collisions, arresting illegal shooters—and the stakes have never been higher.

We need your help! Your gifts support our work across the globe. When you make a donation for crane conservation, you support clean water, healthy wetlands and robust grasslands for a multitude of birds and other animals – many also facing extinction!

Your generosity is the catalyst of change for cranes and all they represent. To help us continue our important work please consider making a donation today. Your donation ensures that we are able to continue our work to protect cranes for the next 45 years and beyond, to achieve our vision where cranes not only survive, but thrive.