With World Wetlands Day approaching on Feb. 2, it is a good time to consider the importance of wetlands, which are essential to our future and the survival of wildlife such as a beautiful migratory bird called a Siberian crane.
Siberian cranes are a critically endangered species with fewer than 4,000 existing in the wild. Also known as the “snow crane” due to their distinctive white plumage, these birds make the longest migration of any crane – flying more than 3,200 miles from Eastern Siberia to a single lake in Southeast China called Poyang Lake and back, twice a year.
Because Siberian cranes feed almost exclusively on submerged aquatic plants, the existence of wetlands along their migratory route is critical to their survival. These wetland habitats are threatened because of human impacts, such as agricultural development and increasing demands for water by growing human populations.
Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Cast and the Disney Conservation Fund are working with the International Crane Foundation (ICF) to reverse the decline of Siberian cranes by working with local stakeholders in China and Russia to improve wetland management and develop sustainable ecotourism involving cranes. They are studying how to manage wetlands to benefit cranes while also creating opportunities for tourists to see and learn about these amazing birds.
To learn more about these and other migratory birds, visit DisneyAnimals.com.
PHOTO CREDITS: Zhou Haiyan