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Rehabilitation of a white-naped crane in Primorye

14 february 2020
WWF Russia has been taking care of a white-naped crane that is under the rehabilitation at the Rehab Center “Tigr” in Primorye. A young rare bird was placed here in November 2019 and has all chances to be released into the wild in the Year of the Crane - 2020.
In late autumn of 2019, local people noticed a lonely bird on a roadside in the area near the Khanka Lake in Primorye. As it did not fly away at the approach of humans, people assumed the bird felt bad and needed help. The rangers of the Wildlife Management Department were informed about the incident and immediately delivered the bird to the Rehab Center.
Rehabilitation of a white-naped crane in Primorye
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia
Comments Viktor Kuzmenko, head of the Rehab Center “Tigr”: “The crane was very exhausted, but after medical examination no injuries were revealed. Tests also showed that the bird is healthy. For a couple of months in the rehabilitation center, the crane has already returned to physiological norm. Its diet contains fish and small quantities of meat, live mice, vegetables and grain mixtures. I believe, it will be released into the wild this April. Before the release, as soon as it gets warm, we will transfer it to the enclosure that was built last year for storks with WWF support.
Comments Rimma Andronova, head of science of Zapovednoye Priamurye: “Judging by the feather colors, this bird is two years old. It is really in very good physical shape, as can be seen from the normal condition of plumage, the beak and legs. The reasons why the crane did not fly away for wintering grounds may be different. Normally, migration starts in mid-October, and after a month the first cranes are observed at the main wintering site - on Izumi in Japan. One of the probable reasons why the crane did not fly away in time for wintering is unstable weather in the fall with alternating abnormally warm days with short periods of sharp cooling. The bird might not have accumulated enough strength to fly.

To provide comfortable conditions for the bird to stay at the rehab center, the experts had to improvise. The storage room for medical products was turned into a temporary house for the crane. The room temperature is stable above 10 C and the light comes through the window.

The situation with storks and cranes showed that the Rehabilitation Center Tigr needs a special warm room for keeping and rehabilitation of such birds. And now WWF Russia is looking for funds for the construction of a warm box. After the course of rehabilitation, we plan to tag the crane with a radio transmitter and release it into the wild near Khanka Lake Nature Reserve in Primorye. Ornithologists constantly observe white-naped cranes on flyway here, as well as the nests of this rare bird. So, we believe that our patient will find a mate in the future and will be able to live in the wild.

The world population is estimated at 6250-6750 birds, however, no latest numbers available. According to the experts, the capacity of habitats in Russia allows more than 500 pairs to nest. However, during coordinated surveys, scientists never recorded more than 150 pairs throughout Russia.

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