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Long Life for Cranes a Goal in China
China has progressed remarkably in its efforts to protect cranes during the past two decades, International Crane Foundation President James T Harris said Friday in Beijing.

"China's crane-protection awareness and measures have undergone big changes," Harris told China Daily prior to the opening ceremony of a two-day international workshop on crane protection. "Many, many good things have been done in this regard."

Harris, devoted to protecting cranes in China and the rest of the world since 1987, said governments at various levels, as well as research institutions, have attached great importance to crane protection. Many wetlands for the cranes' home have been preserved and the public's protection awareness has been greatly improved.

The workshop, sponsored by the Chinese Ornithological Society and Harris' foundation and attended by 85 scientist from 12 countries, was the fifth international conference for crane protection. The fourth was held in Qiqihar of Heilongjiang Province in 1987.

That conference was the beginning of China's crane protection program. To date, China has set up 70 nature protection reserves to protect cranes, official statistics indicate.

Cranes, considered the sign of good luck, dignity and a long life, fall into 15 species and eight of these can be found in China. Five species in China including the black-necked crane, the red-crested crane, the white crane and the hoary-headed crane are listed as the most endangered birds on earth by the World Conservation Union.

Statistics from the Chinese Ornithological Society showed the world has some 1,300 red-crested cranes, 1,000 of which live in China. Other main habitats are Japan, Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.

Earlier this year the northern part of Yunnan Province in Southwest China was declared the world's largest habitat of the internationally endangered black-necked crane.

According to a recent survey jointly organized by the International Crane Foundation and the Yunnan Provincial Department of Forestry, there are more than 2,500 black-necked cranes in five counties in northern Yunnan Province, known as the "Kingdom of Flowers and Plants." The black-necked crane is a rare bird that inhabits tablelands. Its tall and beautiful figure makes it valuable for bird-watching.

(China Daily August 10, 2002)

The red-crowned crane is the rarest crane species in the world, widely inhabiting northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
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