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WWF launches the Year of the Crane – 2020 in the Amur River basin

31 january 2020
A public campaign “Crane – Bird of Peace” will unite 24 nature reserves and national parks, 6 student nature protection brigades and 22 public organizations of the Amur ecoregion.
WWF joins the International Year of Crane – 2020 announced by the International Crane Foundation and the Crane Working Group of Eurasia. Russian Bird Conservation Union has chosen the crane as the Bird of 2020 in Russia. On the eve of the World Wetlands Day, which is celebrated on February 2, WWF Russia organized a press conference in Vladivostok launching of the Year of the Crane in the Amur ecoregion.
White-naped crane baby chick
Igor Ischenko
“Cranes can be found on all continents except South America and Antarctica. However, the population numbers of many species is small, and some remain very low or even continue to decline. WWF Russia Amur branch gladly joins the crane conservation campaign. Conservation of wetlands and rare birds of the Amur Ecoregion is one of WWF’s priorities. The Amur River basin is the most “crane” region in the world: the flyway and breeding grounds of 6 crane species out of 15 living on the Planet are located here - more than anywhere else on Earth. White-naped crane, red-crowned crane, gray, hooded, white crane and demoiselle crane are in focus of our conservation efforts,” - said Peter Osipov, director of WWF Russia Amur Branch, at the press conference.
Press conference in Vladivostok
WWF Russia

The main reason for the decline in crane populations is degradation of the natural habitat and, as a result, a decrease in food supply and a reduction in habitat. The most dangerous threat is coming from humans such as transformation of marches to farmlands, the use of steppes and swamps for grazing, construction works in habitats, burning dry vegetation necessary for crane nesting, poaching in breeding sites.

White-naped crane © Igor Ischenko
Hooded crane © Yury Gafarov / WWF Russia

Jointly with partners WWF plans to continue work to create new protected areas and upgrade the status of the existing PAs in the key habitats of cranes and storks; carry out the crane survey on its entire home range; support the activity of anti-poaching and fire-preventing brigades; carry out ecoregional public campaign “Crane – Bird of Peace”.

This includes the work with adults, kids, contests and workshops, Days of Crane, work of the students “Crane Ambassadors”. And in October 2020 at the Far Eastern conference on protected areas management the new edition of the Red-crowned and White-naped Crane Conservation Strategy will be considered.
White-naped crane © Anna Barma / WWF Russia
Red-crowned crane © Gennady shalikov / WWF Russia
“The conservation of these rare birds, a symbol of grace and beauty, depends not only on global processes, but also on each person living in their neighborhood. Therefore, we offer people to reconsider their attitude towards main threats to these rare birds: first to grass fires, that kill nests, eggs and young birds if they cannot fly; towards the use of chemicals and land reclamation, for example, the plowing of the fields where cranes feed, not BEFORE, but AFTER their departure will significantly help the birds to feed in the fall before the long way to the wintering grounds, – comments Yury Gafarov, WWF Russia coordinator of the Year of the Crane-2020 in the Amur basin.
Siberian white crane
Igor Ischenko

WWF Russia has designed a special section on the AmurInfoCenter web portal dedicated to the Year of the Crane. Here you can see and download the most diverse information: a lecture, interesting facts and a presentation about the cranes of the Amur basin; infographics about the features of certain species, banners, wall calendar, video and photo gallery about cranes; methodological developments of teachers, various scenarios of the “Crane Day” celebration. A good help for educators from WWF Russia will be the origami scheme, by printing which you can make cranes with your own hands, certificates for participants in the event, and regulations on competitions for the Year of the Crane in the Amur basin.

 Another section on the AmurInfoCenter portal will be devoted by the international contest of children's drawings “Crane - Bird of Peace”. It will open on February 2, on World Wetlands Day. Each of the participants of this competition from around the world will be able to mark his drawing here from February 2 to April 30.

In the Year of the Crane, a special, “crane” nomination will be announced in the IV Far Eastern contest of environmental journalism “Living Taiga”.

The Crane Year begins marching through the Amur basin. Be with us! We’ll do everything to save the cranes of the planet!