Birdwatchers Crane your necks


A national crane census will be carried out on July 29 and 30, 2005. South Africa has three crane species, all of which are threatened with extinction. South Africa's national bird, the blue crane, is listed as vulnerable.

The grey crowned crane is also vulnerable, but the larger wattled crane is critically endangered. The Agricol National Crane Census is carried out by the Endangered Wildlife Trust's South African Crane Working Group.

The count is voluntary, and is performed by landowners and other individuals. Agricol, a seed manufacturer, has helped create awareness of the count by placing thousands of stickers on seed bags.

Standardised data sheets are used in the count and the results submitted to regional coordinators. Once collated, the working group will have an idea of where cranes are found in the country, and where to concentrate their conservation measures.

Information on threats to the birds is also gathered. The census takes place at the same time that the University of Cape Town's Avian Demography Unit conducts its countrywide CAR (Coordinated Avifaunal Roadcount).

People can participate in both initiatives simultaneously. For more information contact Leon-Jacques Theron on (011) 486 1102 or email leont@ewt.org.za.



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