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The Wattled Crane Conservation Project

  • Critically Endangered in South Africa
  • Vulnerable in Africa
  • The majority of the population found in the large floodplains in central Southern Africa
  • Primary threats: habitat loss

The Wattled Crane Conservation Project is an initiative aimed at preventing local extinction of the Wattled Crane through collection of abandoned eggs from wild birds and the subsequent release of captive-reared chicks back into the wild.

Wild Wattled Cranes occasionally lay two eggs but will only raise one chick, abandoning the second egg once the first egg has hatched. Members of the Wattle Crane Conservation Project collect and hand rear the remaining egg. Offspring of the ex situ breeding flock will be released to supplement the wild population.


The project is managed by the Johannesburg Zoo in cooperation with the South African Crane Working Group, the Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife and the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The 10 participating facilities provide housing, food and reproductive management for the breeding flock.



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