June 8, 2008

New publication on Siberian Crane

The Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus is one of the most threatened waterbird species in Asia (with less than 15 individuals left in Central and West Asia, and about 3,000-4,000 in East Asia). Based on long-term interest to protect this species, an international agreement and programme of work has been developed under the UNEP/Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) that involves a number of governments, international organisations and interested experts. This species also serves as a flagship to promote management of migratory species and their habitats in the region.

A new publication, entitled, Conservation Measures for the Siberian Crane, Fourth Edition. 2008 has been published by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS); downloadable from

This publication outlines the results of recent work and priorities for the future for management of this species and its habitats. The programme of work was developed at an international meeting in May 2007 in Almaty, Kazakhstan (which I was fortunate to attend). The meeting was led by the International Crane Foundation and a major UNEP GEF programme (see

The GEF project that covers Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran and China as a primary focus, but in reality also includes all the other countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) where the Siberian Crane is found.

The publication makes very interesting reading and the editors are to be commended.

For those interested in disease issues, there are sections that relate to avian influenza surveillance in Siberian Cranes and wild birds that were identified as priorities by the countries and hopefully will be addressed during the period 2007-2009. This would be a useful reference to consider in discussions involving these countries, as AI programmes are developed/refined.

Best wishes, Taej

Taej Mundkur, PhD
Deputy Wildlife Coordinator for Avian Influenza
Infectious Disease Group / EMPRES, Animal Health Service
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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