Welcome to another exciting edition of Cranetivities! This week we spotlight the tallest and rarest crane species in Africa – the Wattled Crane! See last week’s edition of Cranetivities here.
Activity Description: The Wattled Crane is a distinct–looking bird named for the two skin flaps or “wattles” at the base of its beak. You may be familiar with the bright red wattles on turkeys and chickens, and the wattles on Wattled Cranes are similar. The wattles will change size depending on the mood of the crane – they shrink when they are nervous and elongate when they are excited. These birds are listed as vulnerable throughout their range in Sub-Saharan Africa, and organizations including the International Crane Foundation and our partners the Endangered Wildlife Trust are working to protect this crane in the wild through conservation programs in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia. Through this week’s activities, you will learn what makes these birds unique and why their wetland habitats need to be protected.
Grades: 5 to 12
Time estimate: 1 to 2 hours
Topics covered: Art, reading and conservation science
Materials needed: Paper, pencil and coloring utensil of choice
Adult Involvement: Minimal
Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor
In partnership with the International Crane Foundation, the Endangered Wildlife Trust has created a wonderful guide on how to draw your very own Wattled Crane! In addition to drawing instructions, the guide also has questions along the way to test your crane knowledge. Turn this into a fun game by quizzing family and friends. You may give out bonus points to whoever draws the best Wattled Crane. For those who would like to create their own crane but prefer coloring, the links below will take you to two different crane coloring pages.
After creating a Wattled Crane masterpiece, watch this video from the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa. This is an informative video detailing Wattled Crane conservation work and how zoos can contribute by creating effective breeding programs with captive crane populations.
Why is it important that zoos breed endangered animals like Wattled Cranes?
Are there conservation programs for your favorite animal? Try looking up “[favorite animal] conservation program” online. Are there any zoos taking part in these conservation programs? How do they contribute?
If you like the last video, check out our webinar Cranes, Kafue Lechwe, Communities and Conservation of the Kafue Flats. In this fascinating hour–long presentation, our staff from Africa go in detail about the conservation actions taking place in the Kafue Flats, where one-third of all Wattled Cranes are found. This webinar would be most appropriate for grades 9+ and adults.