February 24, 2010

Siberian Crane Gets International Support: UN

The United Nations reported on Wednesday that several countries, including Russia, Iran and China, are working together to bring back the Siberian Crane form the brink of extinction.

The pure white, 55-inch tall crane is considered to be critically endangered with a population of less than 3,500 individuals left. But, with the help of the international community, "the future of the Siberian crane is looking brighter," said Claire Mirande, director of the Siberian Crane Wetland Project.

The large crane is migratory and flies 3,100 miles every year from its breeding habitat in northern Siberia to Iran and southern China. Many wetland regions along its migration route are being drained for farming.

The project to save the bird is being supported by the Global Environment Facility and being implemented by the International Crane Foundation through the UN Environment Program. This is the first project of its kind to take on a "Ëœflyway' approach to secure the future of the species. Flyways are flight paths that birds use for the annual migration from breeding grounds to wintering areas. Many times these flyways span oceans and continents.

Mirande spoke on the topic at the annual meeting of the United Nations Environment Program in Bali. She said the project in the countries involved has boosted the conversation of 16 wetlands that were in a critical state over two main routes the birds use for their migration.

The story of this unique decade long project is told in the book Safe Flyways for the Siberian Crane which was released today at the Bali meeting.


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