The International Crane Foundation headquarters, located near Baraboo, has been a source of local pride for nearly 50 years. On April 11, the Foundation’s Interpretive Programs Manager, Andy Bingle, will give a presentation at 6 p.m. in the Reedsburg Public Library’s community room, 370 Vine St., Reedsburg.
The presentation, entitled “How Charismatic Cranes Inspire Peace and Conservation” will highlight how cranes have inspired the art and literature of several cultures for millennia. At the International Crane Foundation, that inspiration fuels ongoing efforts to protect not only cranes, but the habitats and ecosystems they rely on. Currently, the ICF employs more than 80 individuals and is involved in crane conservation projects in 50 countries spread over five continents.
There are 15 species of cranes, with 11 of them threatened with extinction. Since 1973, the ICF has worked to bring back the various species by breeding birds in captivity and releasing them into the wild, reducing illegal trade, and working with governments to protect ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways. Hallmarks of the ICF’s accomplishments include spearheading conservation efforts in Vietnam, as well as the Amur River basin between Russia and China, and Asian wetlands inhabited by Siberian cranes.
In the mid ‘80s the ICF pioneered “isolation rearing” efforts to release captive cranes into the wild. The newly hatched birds are isolated from contact with humans and parented by human caregivers using a crane puppet to feed the young through a door in the pen. They may then be released to native crane populations after learning additional survival skills. This “soft release” method has been used successfully to augment sandhill crane populations in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida.
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This coming year, the ICF’s Baraboo headquarters will be closed as the Foundation makes renovations to its grounds and visitor center. According to Bingle, upgrades are being made to the crane environments so that each exhibit will feature a pond surrounded by native plants that more closely resemble natural habitats. The visitor center will be expanded with new murals telling the story of the landscapes and environments where cranes live. Interpretive exhibits will explain ongoing work around the world.
There is no registration or fee for this program.
For more information, call the library at 608-768-7323.