Did you know that Blue Cranes are endangered? This sad reality and ever-present threat to these beautiful birds means that future generations may not get a chance to see them in the flesh. What was once a plentiful population of Blue Cranes in our Eastern Grasslands has dwindled to a frighteningly low number that is thought to be a 90% decline.
1) Human intervention – Much like many of the other species that are endangered and even extinct, humans encroaching on the habitats of Blue Cranes have left these birds with nowhere to live and breed. Human population growth and the conversion of grasslands into commercial tree plantations have been two of the biggest reasons for the status of the Blue Crane.
2) The farming industry – Unfortunately, agriculture has done little to protect these birds, with some Blue Cranes even being poisoned to protect crops. Crop dusting, predators like dogs, electric fencing and power line collisions have also played a part in the dwindling population. Changing socio-economic pressures also cause farmers to prioritise their crops over the local wildlife, a vicious cycle that only harms biodiversity.
3) Climate change – The ever-present threat of global warming is impacting our animals, like the Blue Crane. This harms habitats, food, breeding and beyond.
What is being done to protect the Blue Crane?
The Blue Crane has legal protection in South Africa and through more conservation efforts including research, training and awareness initiatives, we can hopefully prevent the population from becoming extinct. Habitat management is also crucial at this point as landowners are educated on how to look out for the Blue Crane, whilst maintaining their own enterprises. All Blue Crane populations are currently being monitored so that we can have an accurate picture of what the numbers in the wild really are.
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