Sunday, July 4, 2010

Red-Crowned and White-Naped Cranes

(photo credit: June-July 2010 issue of National Wildlife magazine)

There is some good news out of the Korean Peninsula:

On the Korean Peninsula, the Demilitarized Zone is a peculiar kind of oasis. After the cease fire that halted the Korean War in 1953, this two-and-a-half-mile wide, 155-mile long ribbon of land, which had been popu¬lated for more than 5,000 years, became a "no-man's land."

In the absence of farming, the prairies and scrub native to the western portion of the DMZ, as it is called, and the thick forests in the more mountainous eastern section, eventually grew back. Soon after, some of the wildlife that had vanished from the area also returned, including two of the world's rarest birds: the white-naped crane and red-crowned crane. Both are among the 10 species of crane—out of 15 that range worldwide—on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The money quote for me:

That the cranes, traditionally considered birds of peace, should inhabit one of the most dangerous places on Earth is an irony not lost on George Archibald. "It's quite extraordi-nary," says the noted biologist and cofounder of the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in Wisconsin who has worked to conserve cranes in the DMZ since the 1970s.

So, on the 4th of July, I offer you red and white cranes.  Couldn't do anything about a blue one.  I hope they fare well.

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