African Crane Conservation Programme

The African Crane Conservation Programme (EWT-ACCP) is a partnership programme between the Endangered Wildlife Trust and International Crane Foundation (ICF). The EWT-ACCP empowers individuals and organisations to develop conservation activities and promotes the sustainable use and wise management of wetland, grassland and Karoo ecosystems upon which our crane species depend. Cranes are spectacular, graceful, long-lived birds that have captivated the imaginations of thousands for millennia. The wetlands on which cranes depend are also crucial for human health and livelihoods.

The lifelong devotion demonstrated by mating pairs has resulted in them being symbols of peace, happiness and longevity. South Africa’s Blue Crane is prized as a symbol of royalty and only Zulu Kings are allowed to wear the feathers in their headdress. Not surprisingly then, the Blue Crane is South Africa’s national bird. However, this national bird with plumes fit for a king is disappearing, along with our Wattled Cranes, Grey and Black Crowned Cranes. The EWT-ACCP is working tirelessly to ensure that these deceptively fragile birds remain a beautiful part of the African landscape for many more years to come.

Cranes and their habitats...booklet pdf (66MB)

African Cranes Infographic Poster....Download (10MB)

Black Crowned Crane Blue Cranes Grey Crowned Cranes Wattled Crane
  • National Bird of Nigeria, where it is almost extinct
  • Vulnerable
  • Primary threats: illegal trade and habitat loss
  • National Bird of South Africa
  • Vulnerable
  • One of only 2 cranes without red on the face (the other is the Demoiselle crane)
  • Besides the Demoiselle Crane, independent of wetlands, but need water
  • Near endemic to South Africa, with a small population in Namibia of less than 35 birds
  • Primary threats: Powerlines, habitat loss, poisoning
  • Endangered across Africa
  • Vulnerable in South Africa
  • Can perch due to their long hind toe
  • Fastest declining crane species in the world
  • The most ancient of the cranes
  • National bird of Uganda
  • South Africa the only country with a stable population
  • Biggest population in Kenya and Uganda
  • Primary threats: illegal trade, habitat loss, direct persecution as a result of crop damage and powerline collisions and electrocutions
  • Critically Endangered in South Africa
  • Vulnerable in Africa
  • Most specialised of Africa’s cranes, needing good quality wetlands
  • The majority of the population found in the large floodplains in central Southern Africa
  • Primary threats: habitat loss and hydroeclectric dams

Contact Details

Kerryn Morrison - ICF/EWT Senior Manager: Africa email
Tanya Smith - Southern African Regional Manager email
Cynthia  Chigangaidze - Senior Administrator email
Steven Segang - Highveld Community Projects Officer email
Matthew Becker - Midlands Senior Field Officer email
Griffin kaize Shanungu – Zambia Cranes and Wetlands Conservation Project (ZCWCP) Coordinator email

How can you help us save cranes? Please visit and make a donation.