Status of The
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.