(From the report
presented to the CMS Scientific Council, Wageningen,
3-5 June 1998)
The small remaining
western/central Asian populations somehow manage to
continue to maintain stable numbers, year after year:
India: Three Siberian cranes (a pair and a chick)
arrived at Keoladeo National Park on 17 November 1997,
and departed on 4 March 1998. This year, PTTs were
placed only on two Eurasian cranes that wintered in
the park (none on Siberian cranes).
Islamic Republic of Iran: As many as 8 Siberian cranes overwintered
again at Fereidoonkenar and Esbaran, Iran, after arriving
there on 23 October 1997. Observations were carried
out by local conservationists throughout the winter.
Russian scientists had hoped to repeat the highly
successful effort to attach a PTT to one bird in 1996,
but it proved impossible to arrange a mission to Iran.
Russian Federation: The innovative Russian field programme
continued in 1997. Four Siberian crane chicks were
successfully introduced into a flock of Eurasian cranes
in September 1997, and the young birds were last seen
about 40km from where they fledged.
eggs were substituted into the nests of Eurasian cranes
early in the season. Later in the year, the researchers
returned to the nesting area, but did not locate any
sub-adult Siberian cranes. It is speculated that the
birds had already left with their foster parents.
In August 1997,
two pairs of Siberian cranes, each with a juvenile,
were located on the breeding grounds near Uvat. One
of the males had been fitted with a PTT in Iran in
February 1996 and its movements tracked for several
months, giving new insights into the cranes
migration. Apparently, a year and a half later it
was still in robust health. The Russians have since
perfected their own, less expensive PTTs, one of which
was affixed to one of the two juvenile cranes. Its
southerly migration (en route to Iran) was tracked
as far as the Astrakhan Nature Reserve at the northwest
corner of the Caspian Sea.
the breeding grounds of the few remaining birds that
winter in India, five Siberian crane eggs were placed
in the nests of Eurasian cranes. A few months later,
three pairs of Eurasian cranes with fledged juvenile
Siberian cranes were observed, in addition to a pair
of Siberian cranes and a juvenile (most certainly
the three birds that turned up in India in November
The 1998 Russian
field programme has received a new injection of funding:
$75,000 has been made available for the egg-substitution
and chick release programmes, as well as the migration
and Iranian wintering ground studies.
In 1997, the
Secretariat published and distributed the comprehensive
1997-1999 Siberian crane conservation plan, developed together with the ICF. The Scientific
Council praised this action plan for being "clear,
realistic, simple and easy to use, and it also showed
very clearly who the different players are".
Council further approved to allocate funds to a project,
developed by the International Crane Foundation,
that will transform the conservation plan into
a 5-year project suitable for funding by GEF.
to seek the approval of the Iranian authorities to
organize a Range State meeting in that country in
late 1997 or early 1998 were not successful. Although
interest was expressed informally, the Secretariat
never received an official response to its numerous
interventions. Contacts have been initiated again,
with a view to organizing a meeting there in late
1998, in order to review implementation of the conservation
Crane Foundation is in the process of arranging the
distribution of a Siberian crane video which was co-funded
remainder of 1998, the Secretariat will compile status
reports from each of the Range States.