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Red-crowned crane: An endangered species

21 May 2019


The majestic red-crowned crane:

The majestic red-crowned crane has been categorised as endangered on International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN’s) red-list since 2000, with sadly still a globally declining wild population of just 1,830 mature individuals estimated in 2016. The valuable and extensive work of organisations such as the International Crane Foundation (ICF) remains vital to support the safeguarding of the red-crowned crane’s vulnerable breeding and wintering grounds. ICF works closely with local communities to raise awareness of the crane’s plight in East Asia including the Demilitarized Zone of the Korean Peninsula. Alongside work in East Asia, zoological institutions such as Pensthorpe Conservation Trust maintain a healthy captive-bred population to ensure that the species has a safety net.

Red-crowned cranes are a well-known species to the avicultural team here at Pensthorpe, we have a healthy mature pair of cranes who have successfully bred, their offspring moving to other institutions across Europe. There is a fascinating and direct link with the ICF, Pensthorpe and red-crowned cranes. George Archibald one of Pensthorpe Conservation Trust’s long-serving Trustees co-founded the ICF in Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA back in 1973. During that first year an elderly red-crowned crane named Phil arrived at Baraboo. Phil’s great-great grandson hatched on 3rd May 2004 and this direct descendent moved to Pensthorpe in November of that year. It seemed only right therefore that George Archibald give this male a house name. George chose ‘Taro’ after a crane he once knew in Japan.

You can see our red-crowned cranes, plus various other species of crane we look after, from our crane hide, which is situated next to our flamingo area. 

“Red-crowned cranes, in shining white with black trim, are poetry in motion when caught in dance or in flight against a blue sky.” George Archibald ICF.