The Grey Crowned Crane nests and forages outside of protected areas, with the overriding conservation challenge being the development of sustainable management alternatives for their co-existence within humans. Through increased awareness and environmental education, community-based habitat (wetland and grassland) conservation programmes need to be developed (e.g. the Wakkerstroom Natural Heritage Association and the EWT Crane Custodian Programme), implementing management recommendations allowing cranes to co-exist in agricultural / human utilized regions. Solutions need to be provided to landowners experiencing crop / animal feed damage by cranes, through methods of preventing cranes eating the crops or establishing crane feeding restaurants during periods of crop sensitivity. Powerline incidents need to be identified and mitigated with standard techniques devised by Eskom. In certain areas, e.g. the Transkei, the cultural significance of the Grey Crowned Crane has afforded it a level of local protection, while general legal protection needs to be strengthened to restrict trade and protect cranes from being removed from the wild.
PROTECTED AREAS AND IBA's
Steenkampsberg plateau, Chrissie pans, proposed Grassland Biosphere Reserve, Golden Gate Highlands and Qwaqwa National Parks, Chelmsford Nature Reserve, Spioenkop Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg Park, Umvoti Vlei, Hlatikulu Nature Reserve, Midmar Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal Mistbelt grasslands, Franklin Vlei, Penny Park, Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve and Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve.