Although they are regarded as icons of the African landscape, according to the International Crane Foundation, the endangered Grey Crowned Crane is the world’s fastest declining crane species. Specifically in Rwanda, habitat loss and wildlife trafficking have left fewer than 500 cranes in the wild.
Thankfully Olivier Nsengiman, wildlife conservationist and veterinarian, is committed to protecting these iconic cranes—and he’s doing it with the help of MAZURI® feed.
Born in Rwanda, Olivier grew up hearing the calls of wild Grey Crowned Cranes. But today, many people have never seen these cranes in the wild. The dancing, whimsically long-necked birds are instead kept in town, on display in hotels and other businesses. And even though they are prized as pets, it’s not uncommon for captive birds to die of stress, injuries and malnutrition.
Olivier’s goal is to develop an understanding of where Grey Crowned Cranes are in captivity by registering all captive cranes and giving them numbered leg bands. Olivier also is seeking out the birds that have the potential to thrive in the wild. These cranes are sent to a rehabilitation facility in Akagera National Park in northeast Rwanda.
During their rehabilitation, the cranes are fed MAZURI® Crane Diet to help their feathers grow back, and build their muscles to aid in flying and foraging for food in the wild. Owned by PMI Nutrition, a part of Land O’Lakes, Inc.’s feed business, MAZURI® Exotic Animal Nutrition specializes in diets as diverse as the animal kingdom—cranes included.
Prior to rehabilitation, the cranes were mostly being fed peanuts, fish and other locally found foods. Now thanks to MAZURI® feed, their new diet is formulated to meet all known nutritional requirements for adult cranes.
"MAZURI® Crane Diet has the nutrition the cranes desperately need as they are rehabilitated and reintroduced to the wild," says Olivier. "We look forward to maximizing the condition of the birds to increase their success in the wild."
Olivier and his team have registered 150 cranes in captivity to date, and have moved 42 cranes back to the wild over the past few months. The hope is that the released birds will begin to slowly re-populate the park and its surroundings—and that people will once again hear their calls.
For more information, check out the Grey Crowned Crane Project’s Facebook page.