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Get Cranespotting! Join our Thunderclap and Help Save the Endangered Blue Crane

22 July 2014 | Natalie White


Blue Crane

 

The blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus), also known as the Stanley crane and the Paradise crane, is the national bird of South Africa. A tall, ground-dwelling bird, it is pale blue-gray in colour becoming darker on the upper head, neck and nape and easily identified by its long wingtip feathers which trail to the ground. 

In the last two decades, the blue crane has largely disappeared from the Eastern Cape, Lesotho, and Swaziland. The population in the northern Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West Province has declined by up to 90%. The species is now listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red Data List of Species for Southern Africa. The biggest dangers facing the blue cranes are habitat loss, poisoning and collisions with power lines.

Staying true to their slogan of “Do the Right Thing”, Fair Cape Dairies has joined forces with the Endangered Wildlife Trust to do something about this decline. And here at Tracking the Wild, we are supporting it too.  The Endangered Wildlife Trust has discovered that putting markers on power lines can help, but in order to know which lines to mark, they need to know more about the cranes’ movements. This is where you come in!

This valuable GPS data can be crowd-sourced by the general public using the Tracking the Wild platform. And it’s really pretty simple; this is what you need to do:

1. Download our Android app or create a free account on our website.

2. Upload your sighting of the blue crane and mark the GPS location on the map. If you’ve taken the photo with your smartphone or a GPS-enable camera then the location will populate automatically. If you didn’t manage to get a picture then don’t worry, the sighting is just as important!

3. Mark how many birds you saw as well as the date and time.

4. We’ll automatically submit the data to the Endangered Wildlife Trust so that they can use it for their research.

Although July has been dubbed ‘blue crane spotting month’ in the Western Cape, all sightings – new and old – are important. We can all play a part in conserving this magnificent bird for future generations to come. 

Click here to join our campaign!

We are using a platform called Thunderclap to flood Facebook & Twitter with this important conservation message. Sign up now and on August 6th we’ll all share this message at the same time for maximum impact - an "online flash mob" that cannot be ignored!