by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Nov 8, 2016
Conservationists dressed in crane costumes have helped bring the graceful grey birds back to Britain's wetlands after they were hunted to near extinction as a delicacy in the Middle Ages.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said the hand-rearing of 93 cranes in Somerset, southwest England, had been "instrumental" in bringing the total number of cranes in Britain to 160.
"It's an incredibly useful technique. It allows you to act as a surrogate parent," Damon Bridge, one of the conservationists who reared chicks from eggs as part of the "Great Crane Project", told AFP.
Wearing grey body suits, Bridge and other bird enthusiasts socialised with and fed the chicks with devices shaped like a crane's head and painted with a bird's face in a programme that ended in 2014.
Bridge said the aim was to prevent chicks from "imprinting" on humans before being released into the wild so they don't rely on people to feed them.
The chicks that were reared in this way have survived in the wild and have now themselves begun breeding.
"The population has probably grown to a size where it has reached a critical mass," said Bridge.
The Great Crane Project is a partnership between the RSPB, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust.
"It's a dream come true... Cranes are well on track to become a true conservation success story for the UK," said Rebecca Lee, principal conservation breeding officer at the WWT.
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|