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These cranes escaped a life as status symbol pets in Rwanda

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

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Captured in the wild to be kept as high status pets in the gardens of hotels and private homes, gray crowned cranes are an endangered species in Africa. However, Rwanda successfully brought the birds back from the brink thanks to vet and conservationist, Olivier Nsengimana.

Living in Rwanda's capital, Kigali, Nsengimana had found it strange to hear cranes calling from people's gardens, while wild habitats were almost devoid of the birds.

The majestic cranes are seen as "a symbol of wealth and longevity" in Rwanda, says Nsengimana.

Since 2014, 242 gray crowned cranes have been successfully rescued from captivity, says Nsengimana.

Last year, a census identified 881 gray crowned cranes in Rwanda, says Nsengimana.

The future for Rwanda's gray crowned cranes looks much more secure, but can Nsengimana's success be replicated elsewhere in Africa?

Across Africa, gray crowned crane populations are estimated to have dropped up to 80% in the past 25 years, with only around 25,000 to 30,000 birds remaining, according to Morrison.

Gray crowned cranes are kept as pets throughout the continent says Morrison.

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