Blue Crane Population

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Although this species is still found throughout much of its historic range, it has experienced significant and rapid local declines over the last three decades. The most recent estimate puts the population at 21,000 individuals. A National Crane Census undertaken during 1998 identified 19,919 birds. The majority being found in the Karoo habitats and the agriculturally transformed Renosterveld of the Western Cape. 10,650 were located in the Overberg / Swartland region of the Western Cape (53,5 % of South Africa’s population), with other significant populations in the scrub Karoo of the Eastern Cape (3,300 centred on Graaff Reniet) and the grassy Karoo of the Northern Cape (2,650 centred on De Aar / Hanover). The remaining populations within Mpumalanga, the north eastern parts of the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the north Eastern Cape have shown marked declines, and in the areas of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, declines of up to 80 % in the period between 1980 and 2000. Since then the population in this region has steadily recovered from under 400 birds to over 900, largely as result of the increased awareness of the plight of cranes by farmers and their co-operation in crane conservation.

The EWT, Ezemvelo KZN crane survey indicates a steadily increasing population of Blue Cranes in the KZN area during the period 2000 - 2014 to see more detail click on Crane Survey.