In 1999, the International Crane Foundation and Wetlands International launched the Black Crowned Crane Programme to identify key areas where effective projects could be established for the conservation of Black Crowned Cranes Balearica pavonina and their habitats. The species was formerly abundant and widely distributed across at least 27 African countries, but during the past 30 years it has been decreasing in much of its range. In 2000 - 01 the first-ever, range-wide surveys of the species were organised at 187 target sites in 20 countries. The results are presented in this well-produced report. The total Black Crowned Crane population was estimated at 42,000, which is significantly lower than the previous (1994) estimate of 65,500 - 77,500. The West African subspecies B. p. pavonina numbers c. 14,500 birds and is in overall decline, but appears to be stable in freshwater wetlands of the Casamance (southern Senegal) and Guinea-Bissau, and in the Chad Basin. The East African population B. p. ceciliae, numbering c.27,500 birds, is also declining, but remains relatively common in southern Sudan. As principal threats facing the Black Crowned Crane, the report mentions the conversion and over-exploitation of wetlands, egg removal and nest disturbance, and the live crane trade and domestication. Drought and desertification are also considered important threats, especially in combination with other factors. The report provides eight pages of recommendations for the conservation of the species as a whole and for each of the two subspecies.
Status survey and conservation action plan for the Black Crowned Crane Balearica pavonina
Emmanuel Williams, Richard Beilfuss and Tim Dodman, 2003. Dakar, Senegal: Wetlands International & Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA: International Crane Foundation. 80 pp. ISBN 910-5882-9758. Available from Natural History Book Service, www.nhbs.co.uk