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Potawatomi Zoo's cranes: helping conservation abroad.

White-naped cranes are listed as vulnerable in their native countries of China, Russia, and Mongolia due to habitat destruction. The Potawatomi Zoo in South Bend, Indiana, continues to play an integral role in the reintroduction of these magnificent birds, which now maintain wild populations between 4,900 and 5,400. Each year, the zoo's monogamous pair of white-naped cranes delivers an egg or two, which are shipped overseas to contribute to the wild crane population. Shipping the eggs before the chicks hatch alleviates much of the red tape and permits required for sending live animals.

The proposition of transporting a vulnerable species' eggs half-way around the world might seem daunting in itself, but is well worth the trouble to those involved with the program. The eggs are driven to Pittsburgh, flown to Los Angeles, then Seoul, then Kakbarovsk, Russia where they take a nine-hour train ride and arrive at their new home in the Khingansky Nature Reserve. And if that schedule isn't enough of a testament to the dedication of conservationists, once the chicks hatch, their caretakers dress as puppets during all interactions so the chicks aren't imprinted on humans. While Russian authorities notify the donor zoos when their eggs hatch, there is currently no method of tracking each crane once they fledge. Several research projects involving satellite tracking have been conducted in the past; hopefully some will continue into the future to reveal information about recovering crane populations.

Submitted by Amanda Strandquist American Zoo and Aquarium Association,
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Title Annotation:News From Zoos
Author:Strandquist, Amanda
Publication:Endangered Species Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U3IN
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Previous Article:Cloning for conservation: where to draw the line?
Next Article:Northwest institutions aid in recovery of the Western Pond Turtle.

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