The Siberian Crane MoU was the
first MoU developed under CMS auspices. It was concluded
on 1 July 1993 and revised on 1 January 1999.
concentrating on the Western and Central populations
of Siberian cranes, which migrate between breeding
grounds in Western Siberia and wintering sites in
Iran and India respectively, the scope of the Memorandum
was extended in 1998 to cover the larger Eastern Asian
population which winters around Poyang Lake, China,
and accounts for over 95 per cent of the birds.
The serious threat of the Siberian
Crane must be attributed firstly to hunting during
their migration routes and habitat deterioration in
their wintering ground. Although the shooting of Siberian
Cranes is prohibited in most of the Range States,
illegal shooting persists.
The MoU area covers twelve Range
States including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India,
Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia,
Pakistan, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
An up to date list of the Agreement’s Parties
is found in its Agreement Summary Sheet.
The Signatories to the MOU meet regularly
in order to review the conservation plans and agree
on priority activities for the implementation of the
MOU. The proceedings of the last meeting, which took
place in Bonn, Germany (10-12 June 2010), with detailed
information about the conservation status of the Siberian
crane and the Conservation Plans for its three main
populations, have recently been published as a CMS
Technical Series No 25 (click
An important initiative under the
MOU is the Western/Central Asian Site Network for
Siberian Cranes and Other Waterbirds (WCASN), which
was formally launched on 18 May 2007 in Kazakhstan,
in a special signing ceremony held during the Sixth
Meeting of the Signatories to the MOU.
for more information on the WCASN.
The Conservation Plans
The Conservation Plans for the Western,
Central and Eastern Siberian Cranes, agreed in May
2001, are structured according to the MoU´s
basic objectives, followed by a number of programmes
and specific activities that recognize both the similarities
and differences in the actions required to restore
Overall aims of the three plans are
to reduce mortality in the remaining populations,
to protect and manage their habitats and enhance co-operation
among the Range States and other concerned agencies.
The plans for the Western and Central populations
strive also to increase numbers and genetic diversity.
The implementation of the Conservation
Plans is reviewed regularly during a meeting of Siberian
crane Range States. Here, the Conservation Plans for
all three populations are updated.
Activities under the MoU
There are signs that the work under
the MoU is continuing to show results: important new
information about critical sites and Siberian Crane
sightings has been gathered, recovery efforts are
better co-coordinated and the remaining Western/Central
Asian populations are managing to maintain stable
The International Crane Foundation
(ICF) is a CMS partner organization for which the
Convention co-funded the post of the Siberian Crane
Flyway Coordinator. In 2002, ICF teamed up with the
All Russian Research Institute for Nature Protection
to start a new project - "Flight of Hope".
A hang-glider pilot tried to lead a flock of young,
captive-bred Siberian Cranes along part of their traditional
migratory route between Russia and India. The project
includes the creation of new wintering grounds in
the Amudaria River Valley.
This bold initiative is an adaptation
of a similar programme using an ultralight aircraft,
which has shown promise for endangered Whooping cranes
in the United States. Although the full migration
route was not attempted in the first year, substantive
progress has been made.
The “Asian Wetlands for Siberian Cranes
and Other Waterbirds” GEF Project
The Global Environment Facility (GEF)
approved a project to develop a wetland site and flyway
network to conserve the Siberian crane and other migratory
waterbirds in Asia. The project was proposed
by ICF and CMS. GEF contributed a total of US$10
million over a 6-year period. An additional US$12.7
in co-financing was committed.
The project was carried out by
ICF, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment
Programme as well as in cooperation with CMS, and
the Governments of China, the Islamic Republic of
Iran, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.
It focused specifically on conserving
the international network of wetlands upon which the
Siberian crane depends, together with a wide range
of other wetlands biodiversity. The results of this
project provided a basis to expand the wetland
site networks and more widely applied the approaches
that had been developed in each participating country.
Information on the project can be found here
(on the Siberian Crane Wetland Project site).
For further information on activities under the Siberian Crane MoU, please visit the Siberian Crane Flyway Coordination Website: www.sibeflyway.org