Updated 22 August 2013

Save our cranes

Our elegant national bird, the Blue Crane, and other members of the crane family are in danger of disappearing from South Africa’s landscape.


Our elegant national bird, the Blue Crane, and other members of the crane family – Wattled Cranes, Grey and Black Crowned Cranes – are in danger of disappearing from South Africa’s landscape.

According to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) , blue cranes have a restricted range and are almost entirely endemic to the Western Cape and the Karoo, areas potentially very vulnerable to climate change.

South Africa’s electricity is still primarily coal-generated, and growing energy demands have seen an increase in coal mining operations across the country, especially in grassland areas. Open cast coal mines destroy grassland and wetland and pose a major threat to cranes who depend on these habitats. Proposed natural gas mining (“fracking”) as an alternative energy source is also a threat to the Karoo environment, and its crane population.

Cranes are the family of birds most affected by power line collisions in South Africa: this is the primary threat to Blue Cranes and also a serious threat to Grey Crowned and Wattled Cranes. Research aims to understand how and why collisions occur, in order to develop mitigation measures. There is also concern that wind turbines may pose a threat to cranes.
Woolworth’s latest in its series of reusable shopping bags features these iconic birds, and R10 from each R29.95 bag purchased goes to the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) work with the African Crane Conservation Program. Previous Woolworths bags have championed other environmental causes, including rhino and vulture conservation.

You can also support the EWT by shopping at their online store

-Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor

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