A male red-crowned crane chick joined our baby boom May 13 and brought with it hope for the endangered species and its counterparts in the wild. The fluffy, brown chick is finding his way through the wetland exhibit with a little help from his parents, who are no strangers to rearing healthy chicks.
The chick’s 21-year-old parents, Niles and Maris, were donated to Woodland Park Zoo in 1992 from Japan’s Kobi Oji Zoo with hopes of bringing more red-crowned cranes into the world. Red-crowned cranes are severely endangered in their native habitat, with an estimated 2,700 cranes remaining in the Amur Basin of Northeast Asia and only 80 cranes in institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Since the species joined Woodland Park Zoo more than two decades ago, the zoo has celebrated 13 successful hatchings from the pair.
The new red-crowned crane chick is on a mission, living as an ambassador for cranes facing habitat loss and life-threatening, human-wildlife conflicts in their Asian range. Woodland Park Zoo is working to bring back the red-crowned crane population in partnership with Muraviovka Park for Sustainable Land Use and the International Crane Foundation, through the zoo’s Partners for Wildlife. In April, the conservation project director for the park, Sergei M.Smirenski, shared an uplifting story of how the park and its community came together to provide food for cranes and storks returning to Muraviovka Park for spring, saving the animals from starvation during the harsh winter conditions lasting far too long into spring.
The park, located in the Amur River region, preserves 16,000 acres of wetland and cropland to give cranes—and many other species of water birds—a protected area to breed and stop for feedings during migration. Muraviovka Park is a safe haven for red-crowned cranes and other endangered migratory birds to breed, nest and raise their young. With the help of the community and conservationists, the park is making a considerable difference for the future of crane populations.
Currently, Woodland Park Zoo and Muraviovka Park staff are joining forces with the local people of the Amur Basin region to identify their needs. In conserving red-crowned cranes and other endangered species, it’s crucial for us to understand the lifestyles of the community members and accommodate their needs just as we do the needs of the animals. The first step to take is to increase public awareness and educate the community about the cranes’ endangerment, and how their actions can allow for a healthy co-existence of migratory water birds and people.
You can help, too! Join Woodland Park Zoo and its Partner for Wildlife, Muraviovka Park, to help create a stable population of red-crowned cranes in their native habitat. Learn more about our efforts and how you can get involved at zoo.org/conservation. And don’t forget to visit our new red-crowned crane chick in the Asian Crane exhibit of the Temperate Forest. He’s growing fast!