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Protecting the World's Cranes

It’s all about habitat!
© Wes Lindberg View Large

At one time, only 15 Whooping Cranes remained in the world. Today, the species remains endangered, but its population has increased to nearly 600 birds, thanks to conservation efforts. George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, explains how we can improve conditions for Whooping Cranes: “It’s all about habitat,” he says. “I think that’s the fundamental thing.” Saving the areas where Whooping Cranes live, and protecting them from the negative impacts of human activity, will help the cranes recover and thrive.

Full Transcript



Protecting the World’s Cranes

Featuring George Archibald of the International Crane Foundation

Interview by Chris and Todd Peterson

Written by Todd Peterson

This is BirdNote.

[Calls of Whooping Cranes]

At one time, only 15 Whooping Cranes remained in the world. Today, there are still fewer than 600. George Archibald, is co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. We asked him what challenges Whooping Cranes – and cranes around the world – face. 

“It’s all about habitat. I think that’s the fundamental thing. If we can save these last great areas where the birds live, so that they’re not negatively impacted by the actions of man.” 

To thrive, cranes require grasslands, and wetlands. In this way, cranes are ambassadors for the conservation of these habitats. George explains:

“The general public can often take a great interest in helping the cranes because the size and beauty of cranes are very compelling and people know them. If you can conserve what the cranes need, everything else is benefitting.”

And cranes need safety when they fly.   

“We’ve had a lot of our Whooping Cranes shot in our new experimental populations in Louisiana and in the Southeast. And now in Africa, trade has become a very ugly problem, whereby the cranes are captured and sold to wealthy people to decorate their estates in China and the Middle East. Hundreds of them…”

 [Calls of Whooping Cranes]

If you’d like to help cranes thrive, begin at our website,


Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Calls of Whooping Cranes [2748] recorded by G. Archibald.  

Flowing stream Nature Essentials SFX #18, recorded by Gordon Hempton of

BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2014 Tune In to    July 2014   Narrator: Mary McCann Marantz VI Tracks 153 & 155

ID#   crane-01-2014-07-01 crane-01

Sights & Sounds

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