Crane School students are fighting fit and ready for graduation


Credit Amy King

Young cranes are now entering the final stages of preparation for their release next month on to the Somerset Moors and Levels.

At Crane School, at The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust site at Slimbridge, the birds have been taught how to forage and avoid danger.

“We are surrogate parents to the birds and try to teach them all they need to survive, but some things they just pick up on their own. Here the young cranes are sparring, as many young animals do. It looks dramatic but for now it is just practice. Once in the wild, they’ll use these skills to determine their place in the pecking order and, if they need, to battle potential predators,” explained WWT aviculturist Amy King.

Cranes were once widespread in Britain but were driven to extinction as breeding birds through the drainage of wetlands and over-hunting. The Great Crane Project is designed to restore healthy populations of wild cranes throughout the UK.

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