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WWF Russia released a unique mini-series "Crane Stories"

10 july 2021
WWF Russia has announced a 13-episode mini-series “Crane Stories” about the life of cranes and their neighbors. It was released to support the project for the conservation of migratory birds and the restoration of wetlands in the Amur ecoregion. The voice-over was performed by the singers of SOPRANO Turetsky art group and released on WWF Russia YouTube channel
“Crane Stories” is a compilation of the best archived, as well as completely new crane video footage of WWF Russia Amur branch. The author of most of the footage is a photographer and cameraman Igor Ishchenko, a friend of WWF. He collected the footage over two years: “The series was filmed on the territory of the Zeisko-Bureinskaya plain in Amurskaya province. Most of the shots were taken in the Muravyevsky Wildlife Refuge. Today, this area has the highest density of cranes, especially white hooded cranes,” says Igor Ishchenko.
The author of the narration text is the Earth Keeper Nadezhda Kuprikova, the winner of the creative brief texts competition for the series initiated by WWF-Russia Amur branch as part of the Year for Cranes-2020 campaign. The singers of SOPRANO Turetsky art group brilliantly performed the voice-over of the series.
The series tells about the crane habitats, their important role in the ecosystem sustainability, about the main threats to birds, and how they can be saved. The viewer will learn a huge number of interesting facts about these birds, for example, how they protect their nests: there are cases when they even chased bears out of their breeding sites. There are also romantic parts, which contains amazingly beautiful shots of cranes dances during breeding period, when partners fly up, jump and bow to each other. And of course, in “Crane Stories” a large role is given to the negative impact of human activity on the birds life: about draining swamps, burning dry grasslands necessary for nesting, etc.
Igor Ishchenko had to overcome many difficulties to shoot this footage: “Any wildlife filming on the territory of Russia is a difficult task. The main difficulty is the increased caution of almost all living things. Therefore, most of the time during the shooting period is spent looking for the main hero. When it is found and the camera lens is focused on it, technical difficulties come into play: wind, haze, a lot of grass, too much light, lack of light, wires in the background, curious shepherds, extra shadows, neck-deep water, muddy marshes, mosquitoes”, - Igor shares his experience.
The series was released to support WWF-Russia project “Conservation of migratory birds connecting people and ecoregions”. It aims to restore and effectively manage the wetlands of the Amur ecoregion and to preserve cranes and the Oriental stork on the Northeast Asian Flyway. The work will be carried out in the Amur ecoregion, where the issue of habitat loss due to the development of agriculture and mining is very sensitive, and the number of Red-crowned cranes has reached critically low numbers. Experts will analyze the effect of pesticides on wetlands, inspect the breeding sits and prepare the map of cranes' nests. After that the preventive measures will be developed and implemented to reduce the impact of agriculture on these rare birds and to improve territorial protection of breeding sites.
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