While vociferousness is typically associated with cranes – “the trumpet in the orchestra of evolution” to quote Aldo Leopold – one of the largest of the 15 species, the Wattled Crane of Africa, is usually silent. Occasionally one might hear a piercing high-pitched Guard Call or Flight Call and on extremely rare occasions a short duet or Unison Call by a mated pair that lasts but a few seconds. If you are close to a pair or family of Wattled Cranes, one can frequently hear the low burr-like Contact Call, perhaps an expression of proximity and assurance.
Rhinos and elephants aren’t the only animals threated by wildlife trafficking – illegal capture and trade is also causing the Endangered Grey Crowned Crane to disappear from Africa.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the International Crane Foundation (ICF), who have been cross-continental partners since 1994, both celebrated 40 years of pioneering conservation action in 2013. The EWT’s African Crane Conservation Programme (EWT-ACCP) and the ICF formalized their working arrangement in 2006, and since then the partnership has gone on to deliver real and positive impacts on the status of cranes and communities across the African continent.
To help reduce trade in crowned cranes, ICF and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) have been partnering with zoo associations around the world to promote sustainable breeding of captive populations. As part of our collaboration with the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we were thrilled to hear about the successful breeding of a 31 year old wild-caught Black Crowned Crane female at the Memphis Zoo.
What can you do to make a difference? Get informed and support ICF’s global conservation programs! From discussions on coastal water resources in Texas and crane hunting in the eastern United States, to creating awareness of illegal African crane trade or water quality in southeastern China, ICF is making its voice heard across the world. Following are four global snapshots of ICF in Action.
Each week this winter, ICF’s aviculturists provided our captive crane flock with regular sources of environmental enrichment. Zoos around the world provide enrichment for their animals to help maintain both their physical and psychological health.
Following a trail blazed by German crane colleagues and through transportation gratis ICF’s official Airline, Lufthansa, I spent nineteen memorable days in Ethiopian landscapes and sunshine. The visit perhaps will, with good fortune, result in the acceleration in the study and conservation of wetlands vital to more than 1,368 Black Crowned Cranes and 213 Wattled Cranes and uncountable thousands (for me at least) of migrant Eurasian Cranes that we observed.