The Vulnerable white-naped crane in Mongolia is in big trouble. New research from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reveals that breeding populations of white-naped cranes are on the decline (60%!) in one of their last strongholds: the Ulz River basin in Eastern Mongolia. Mongolia is critical to the white-naped crane's survival because it supports almost half of the global breeding crane population.
But one of the white-naped crane's last strongholds is drying up tight before our eyes -- and taking the cranes with it. Ongoing drought drove the breeding pairs in 2000-2001 from 42 to only 17 pairs in 2010-2011.
The birds thrive in wetland ecosystems, preferably with "tall wet vegetation and low grazing pressure (to allow for nesting)." But an extended drought showed that over a 10-year period, "Several lakes and whole stretches of river that supported cranes in 2001 were completely dry by the 2010 survey, and unsuitable for breeding cranes," says the WCS. Unfortunately, this problem isn't unique to Mongolia as global wetlands have declined an alarming 30 percent between 1970 and 2008.
Sign and share this petition urging Mongolia to protect precious wetland habitat for white-naped cranes.
Photo Credit: Amit Patel