Safeguarding Crane Populations - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation

Safeguarding Crane Populations

Safeguarding Crane Populations

The International Crane Foundation is working on every front to safeguard the world’s cranes.

Reducing Illegal Trade

The capture of cranes from the wild for domestication and trade is a significant threat, especially in Africa where Endangered Grey Crowned and Vulnerable Black Crowned Cranes are top targets. Our study of the crane black market in Mali showed that thousands of cranes are being illegally captured and exported to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – and 80% or more die through the supply chain.

Our programs focus on reducing the international demand for cranes by raising awareness among governments, zoo associations, and private collectors. We are also cutting off the supply of cranes from Africa by:

  • Increasing national and local pride for these species in the wild
  • Strengthening the enforcement of laws
  • Providing alternate livelihoods that are not dependent on crane trade

Breeding Cranes in Captivity

To safeguard against extinction of the rarest crane species and to produce birds for reintroduction in the wild, we maintain a captive flock as a “species bank” at our global headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Many scientific contributions and “firsts” have already been achieved through this work, including the first breeding of Critically Endangered Siberian Cranes in captivity. We continue to develop state-of-the-art techniques for artificial insemination, egg incubation, health care, and genetic management.

Reintroducing Cranes to the Wild

While our highest priority is to save cranes in the wild, reintroductions are an important part of the equation. Consider this: The entire naturally-occurring population of Endangered Whooping Cranes is concentrated on limited wintering grounds in Texas that face a range of threats. We are working with partners to establish separate, self-sustaining populations of Whooping Cranes in different geographical areas to protect against a catastrophic event.