- Chinese Name:国际鹤类基金会
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To converse cranes and the wetland and grassland communities on which they depend…[by] providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to these ecosystems.
Crane lovers established this organisation in 1973, intent on making it the world’s leading centre for the study and preservation of cranes. The foundation have proven that cranes are a ‘flagship species’ in the sense that their thriving or deterioration is an excellent indicator of the overall health of the wetland and grassland ecosystems in which cranes live. At its headquarters in Wisconsin, USA, ICF maintains a collection of captive cranes that are used for scientific study and for breeding cranes to release in the wild. It also supports research and public education activities, as well as conservation of wetland and grassland habitats across the world.
In China, the foundation has sponsored numerous surveys of water bird populations and habitats, and supported training for environment protection staff. In 1992, in collaboration with the US based Trickle-Up Programme and the Guizhou Environment Protection Bureau, ICF began a joint community development and conservation project in Guizhou’s Cao Hai Nature Reserve, which provides a winter home for tens of thousands of water birds, including the Black Necked Crane (黑颈鹤). In order to discourage local farmers from encroaching on the habitat, the project partners provided start-up financing and technical support for local people to start their own businesses. Community funds were also established to finance local community development initiatives.
The Caohai project, which also received funding support from the Ford Foundation, has been widely praised as a model for reconciling conservation and development goals. ICF is currently working to support a newly created NGO, the Cao Hai Nature Conservation and Community Development Association, to increase local community capacity and enhance community participation in decision making in Cao Hai conservation and resource management.
In 2003 ICF began working with the State Forestry Administration on a project, funded by the Global Environment Facility, to protect ‘flyways’ for Siberian Cranes (白鹤) migrating between Russia and China. Five national nature reserves are covered by the project: Poyang Lake in Jiangxi, Xianghai (向海) and Momoge (莫莫格) in Jilin, Zhalong (扎龙) in Heilongjiang and Keerqin (科尔沁) in Inner Mongolia. Activities include training for reserve staff and development projects for local communities in the protected areas.
In Tibet the foundation is working on an eco-tourism project that will aid the conservation of Black Necked Cranes.
ICF has also provided support for the China’s Crane and Water bird Working Group 中国鹤类和水鸟工作组to publish a newsletter and hold workshops.