Status of The Crane

The cranes are among the most ancient and distinctive families of birds on Earth. Their great size and beauty, unique calls, and complex behaviors have for centuries commanded the attention and respect of people, as they have come to symbolize peace and happiness in different cultures. Cranes are found on the five continents (besides Antarctic and South America).

Yet cranes are also among the world's most threatened groups of birds. Several of the family's fifteen species have neared the precipice of extinction; as many as eleven may now be globally threatened. Diverse threats, including habitat loss and degradation, pollution, exploitation, and hunting, beset the cranes. It is interesting to note that migrating cranes in Asia are known to have found safe haven in the demilitarized zone border of North and South Korea.

In China, Korea, and Japan, the Red-crowned Crane symbolizes happiness, good luck, long life, and marital bliss, appearing regularly in paintings, tapestry, and other decorative arts. In Japan, where the crane is the national bird, cranes are featured on kimonos, airlines, and bank notes, and one of Japan's most popular folktales involves a crane that transforms itself into a maiden.

Cranes are widely known to be lovebirds. Once finding a mate, they accompany each other for a lifetime. They produce two eggs per year, one of which will be lucky enough to mature. The male and female take turns to nurture the egg, and once hatched, it will live for 25 to 30 years granted it will not be tampered by humans.