Insights: If defined by wintering grounds, there used to be three distinct populations of Siberian Crane. The last bird of the central population, which used to winter in India, was seen in 2002. There is still one male in the western population, named Omid, Persian for ‘hope’. Read more about him here. He has been migrating by himself since 2007. According to the International Crane Foundation, 4,550 birds were counted in the eastern population in China in 2019, the highest count recorded. Perhaps this population can become a foundation for reintroductions in the former central and western areas, once the current threats that led to the declines have been eliminated. The Whooping Crane reintroduction pioneered by the now-defunct Operation Migration provides a possible model. The birds are long-lived, and I cannot but hope that Omid is introduced to a new companion at some point.
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