Why We Care
Africa’s four crane species, Grey and Black Crowned, Blue and Wattled Cranes, are taken from the wild for local domestication and captive trade markets. This trade is one of the primary threats to Black and Grey Crowned Cranes, with a significant impact on their wild populations.
What We Do
The African Crane Trade Project is developing a model program to reduce the impact of captive crane trade on wild cranes by targeting supply within Africa and demand both within Africa and globally.
Our efforts focus on understanding the complex supply and demand chains that affect cranes; creating awareness of the status of Africa’s resident cranes and the threat that trade poses to wild populations; and advocating for changes in policies and legislation that govern the trade in cranes, both locally and internationally.
How You Can Help
1. Adopt a Grey Crowned Crane Plush to support the ICF/EWT Partnership for African Cranes. Your purchase will help us protect crowned cranes from illegal capture and trade and ensure that wild populations will once again thrive.
Click here to purchase your very own Grey Crowned Crane.
2. Donate new or gently-used binoculars that can be used by community members in Africa involved with crane conservation to support their monitoring efforts.
ICF is partnering with Eagle Optics to provide a special opportunity for purchasing binoculars at half price for this project. The Eagle Optics Denali 8x42 Roof Prism Binocular is available for just $90.00/pair. Use the promo code “savingcranes” when completing your order and Eagle Optics will direct your donation to ICF. We will coordinate hand-delivering your binoculars to our colleagues in Africa for the field surveys.
3. Write to your local zoo and ask them not to buy wild-caught cranes or cranes of unknown origin. Zoos and other captive breeding centers play a critical role in ensuring that crowned cranes are bred responsibly. Click here to download and customize our sample letter.
4. If you work at a zoo or captive breeding center, download our factsheet, How Zoos Can Help, to learn how you can become involved, and view the companion video Grey Crowned Cranes Need Our Help! This four-minute video is an important tool for raising awareness of the severe threat that illegal trade poses to the Grey Crowned Crane’s survival and helps address one of the greatest needs: alerting captive facilities, wildlife authorities, and the public about actions they can take to safeguard this charismatic species.
In February 2010 Endangered Wildlife Trust staff returned four Blue Cranes to the Karoo in South Africa. The cranes were confiscated from traders who had illegally captured the birds from the wild. Three of the cranes are pictured, with wraps to keep them calm during the transfer, just prior to release. Photo by Bradley Gibbons, Endangered Wildlife Trust.
Grey Crowned and Black Crowned Cranes, icons of the African landscape and once considered the most secure of African cranes, have dramatically declined in the wild over the last several decades. In response, Black Crowned Cranes have been uplisted to Vulnerable and Grey Crowned Cranes to Endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data Book.
Although habitat loss is a significant threat for these species, trade in live cranes from the wild to captive facilities around the world for display is believed to be the main cause for their dramatic decline.
Read the Story
Learn more about African crane trade through the story of two Grey Crowned Crane chicks rescued from traders by ICF colleague Jimmy Muheebwa, Project Coordinator for Nature Uganda.
The African Crane Trade Project is led by the International Crane Foundation/Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership for African Cranes.
Special thanks to our colleagues who have provided support for the African Crane Trade Project:
Abilene Zoo Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Dohmen Family Foundation Miami Zoo Weltvogelpark Walsrode