Since the 1970ies the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Germany) were running crane conservation projects in Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg separately from each other. In the former GDR members of the “Working group on endangered animals in the GDR” built up a network of volunteers to supervise important breeding and staging sites of cranes. After the German reunification crane conservationists from eastern and western Germany together with the Lufthansa environmental program founded the national working group “Crane Conservation Germany” in 1991. In 1996, the non-profit company Crane Conservation Germany gGmbH with NABU and WWF as equal shareholders was founded. Since 2017 NABU is the only shareholder of Crane Conservation Germany.The main aim of Crane Conservation Germany is to provide secure breeding and undisturbed staging sites for cranes in Germany and to contribute to the international crane conservation.
Our joint task
Nowadays cranes are overall threatened by destruction of their habitats. As a migratory species cranes can only be protected in a long-term by trans-border concepts, e.g. international conventions like the Bonn Convention (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals), laws and cooperation on a national and international level.
Especially in Eastern and Southern Europa and Northern Africa, the main focus is to protect their main wintering areas. Such activities to ensure secure wintering sites outside Germany already start in nearby Alsace-Lorraine, where small flocks are already wintering. The conservation of traditional land use activities in the dehesas in Southwest Spain as well as in Eastern Europe is a main European task, considering the enormous changes in land use towards an industrial agriculture.
Crane conservation by law
Due to the Federal Law on Nature Conservation in connection with Federal Species Protection regulations and nature conservation laws at state level, it is forbidden to enter breeding territories of cranes as well as staging and roost sites of cranes. Exceptional permissions have to be request for nature conservation administrations. All crane pictures at this website were only taken with such special permission.
But there are a lot of other possibilities to watch cranes along roads and country lanes without disturbing the birds. Every person, which acts in a correct way, helps to protect these majestic birds. In some areas with disturbances, cranes consider humans as no real threat anymore, which allows visitors to watch them sometimes from much closer distances.