Endangered red-crowned cranes spotted to reappear in Mekong Dalta

Three red-crowned cranes have been spotted returning to Phu My Biosphere Reserve and Tram Chim National Park in the Mekong Delta, after a year of absence.

Phu My Biosphere Reserve in Kien Giang Province on Saturday confirmed the 30 cranes had been here for half a month. This year, however, they have not gathered among the grey sedge but instead found a quiet corner within the reserve. In the afternoon, the cranes typically flock to Anlung Pring, Cambodia to rest.

About 150 kilometers away, a family of three cranes was spotted in Tram Chim National Park of Dong Thap Province on Friday afternoon.

Endangered species, Red-crowned crane, Mekong Dalta, Reappearance, Endangered species, Red-crowned crane, Mekong Dalta, Reappearance The three red-crowned cranes in Tram Chim National Park. Photo by VnExpress/Do Minh Chanh.

"This crane family has been returning here over three consecutive years, from 2017 to 2019, but in 2020 they didn’t come back," said Le Thanh Cu, vice director of Tram Chim National Park, according to VnExpress.

As a crane conservation volunteer at the International Crane Association, Nguyen Hoai Bao, vice director of Wetland Research Center at Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City - University of Science, immediately visited Tram Chim National Park after learning about the return of the red-crowned cranes.

Bao said since the cranes came back very late, they could only stay in the national park for a few days before departing. "Their normal cycle is to stay in the park until the end of April then fly to Cambodia to rest prior to the breeding season."

Tram Chim National Park was recognized as the world's 2,000th Ramsar site (a wetland designated to be of international importance under Ramsar Convention) and the first of the Mekong Delta, with an area of more than 7,300 hectares. It is one of the world's most famous stops for red-headed cranes, a factor that helped Tram Chim become a Ramsar site.

However, the number of rare cranes here has decreased rapidly over the years. Statistics showed that in 1998, the number of red-headed cranes in Tram Chim was 1,052 but by 2017 there were only nine. In 2018 and 2019, the number was 11.

Phu My Biosphere Reserve recorded the biggest number of red-crowned cranes in 2003, at more than 500. In 2016, the reserve was officially established, covering an area of nearly 2,900 hectares. The core area of 1,200 hectares is for grey sedge. By 2019, there were only 54 cranes returning here.

Bao said the decline in cranes has many reasons, mainly habitat loss. Natural wetland habitats across the Mekong Delta have been converted into agricultural and aquaculture land, disrupting the balance of ecosystems, resulting in little to no chance for cranes to thrive here.

Over past years, national reserves have focused on developing habitats to attract more cranes. However, Bao said changing the ecosystem to restore crane habitats would take many years.

Red-crowned crane – Endangered species

Endangered species, Red-crowned crane, Mekong Dalta, Reappearance, Endangered species, Red-crowned crane, Mekong Dalta, Reappearance Photo: Getty Images

The red-crowned crane has been a symbol of immortality for centuries. Although its official binomial name is Grus japonensis, or “Japanese crane,” it has also captured the imaginations of people in China, Mongolia, Russia, and the Korean peninsula. The red-crowned crane gets its name for the disc of bare red skin atop its head. Its natural habitat is wide-open pristine wetlands where it can fish for its food.

Aside from their red crowns, these cranes are often snow white, with black secondary feathers. Their young are also white, mixed with shades of brown or gray. Their beaks are deep green and sharp, useful for spearing their prey. Red-crowned cranes are often long and tall—some of the world’s largest cranes. The fully-grown adult stands at five feet, with a wingspan that grows to eight feet. Males are slightly larger than females.

Red-crowned cranes are semiaquatic, so they are found wherever there is an abundance of water. Because they are omnivorous, they not only fish and hunt for small amphibians and rodents, but they also feast on reeds and other marsh plants. They are often associated with cold-weather climates. That's because they are often found in the wetlands between East Asia and Russia, though they tend to stick to regions with milder climates. They also live in the much warmer climates of southeastern Asia.

These birds are known to be monogamous: They often find one partner and mate for life. This may be why they symbolize loyalty in Asian cultures. When a couple is together, they use their long windpipes to vocalize with a unison call, which strengthens their bond. They also mate by dancing, gracefully leaping into the air or even bouncing like a ball.

Red-crowned cranes are active and social. They also call and dance to warn each other to stay away, or even to play. During the day, they go out on their own, in pairs, or in groups. At night, they usually come together to roost. This is why they often live in colonies, or flocks.

Threats to survival

The red-crowned crane is the second-rarest crane in the world—second only to the whooping crane in North America. It is an endangered species, with only 1,830 adults in the world and dropping. The most obvious reason is loss of habitat, as the wetlands where these cranes’ breeding grounds are shrinking and are now often too small to sustain the species.

Endangered species, Red-crowned crane, Mekong Dalta, Reappearance, Endangered species, Red-crowned crane, Mekong Dalta, Reappearance Photo: Smithsonian's National Zoo

Human activity and a natural dry spell are the main culprits of this habitat loss. In China, scientists have noted that Lake Poyang—the country’s largest freshwater lake, known as a crane paradise—has dried up as a result of sand mining. The Three Gorges Dam has also unbalanced the lake’s water flow, which some scientists believe causes much of its shrinkage.

Red-crowned cranes’ habitats have also seen a lack of rainfall in recent years, partially due to the natural rain cycle and climate change, which leaves all breeding grounds in a new state of aridity. In both China and Russia, spring fires dry up the environment even more.

The cranes living in the Korean peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone—which has become an unintentional wildlife reserve—also face threats: While these cranes eat leftover grain that humans do not harvest, newer agricultural practices limit access to this grain.

News Related


Boat race festival recognised as national intangible cultural heritage

The Tứ Linh boat race festival on Lý Sơn Island in 2020. It has been been recognised as a national intangible cultural heritage. Photo truyenhinhdulich.vn HCM CITY The boat race festival in Quảng… Read more »

Exhibition showcases the development of National Assembly

A visitors wearing mask is seen at Việt Nam’s National Assembly — Paths of Innovation and Development exhibition that is being held at the Military Zone 7 Museum, HCM City. The exhibition will… Read more »

Vietnam to compete in AFC Women's Club Championship 2021

The continental women’s football club competition, organized by Asian Football Confederation (AFC), also known as 021 FIFA-AFC Pilot Women’s Club Championship, will be held between October 30 and November 14. The tournament host… Read more »

V. League 2021 suspended after players' indirect contact with suspected Covid case

It was revealed Thursday that several players of the Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) club had come into contact with a man who had made contact with a woman, who has tested positive… Read more »

V. League 2021 suspended after players' indirect contact with Covid patient

It was revealed Thursday that several players of the Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) club had come into contact with a man who had made contact with a woman, who has tested positive… Read more »

Celebs show off summer curves in thong swimsuits

Model Quynh Anh Shyn is a hardcore fan of thong bikinis, cut very low in the front and with only a thin strip of elastic material running between the cheeks in the rear,… Read more »

Explore array of Chinese snacks at Phùng Hưng Market

A dish of willow leaf cakes. VNA/VNS Photo HCM CITY Chive cakes, willow leaf cakes and radish cakes are among the dozens of Chinese dishes you can find at Phùng Hưng Market in… Read more »

Brazilian film week to take place in Hanoi

Brazilian film week to take place in Hanoi The event will be held by the Brazilian Embassy in Vietnam. The movies include Nise: The Heart of Madness, Jules and Dolores, Trinta, Rio 2096:… Read more »

First Vietnam International Photography Festival to take place in Ninh Binh

First Vietnam International Photography Festival (Source: VNA) The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has decided to hold the first ever Vietnam International Photography Festival. The event comprises a competition to select a… Read more »

Bac Ninh organizes exhibition on Vietnam’s National Assembly

Visitors at the exhibition (Photo: bacninh.gov.vn) The exhibition displayed more than 500 photos and artifacts, which are divided into 3 main parts: the first general election to elect the National Assembly (NA) of… Read more »

Amidst difficulties, Vietnamese in Laos persist in battling Covid-19

After more than 30 years of living in Vientiane and having to close stalls twice due to the lockdown order, Nguyen Thi Kim Hoa has fears of economic burden as well as the… Read more »

Delicious Banh Can dishes in Nha Trang that you must try

No one truly knows when Banh Can was first made, only that it came from Ninh Thuan Province, and it is one of the most famous dishes of Cham minority here. Over the… Read more »

More pre-1975 villas in Ho Chi Minh City added to preservation list

The old Phuong Nam villa, one of the city’s most well-known buildings of its type, is on the list of ancient villas that need preservation. (Photo: sggp.org.vn) The buildings, which have historical, cultural… Read more »

Young Vietnamese man infatuated with Origami

By choosing traditional Vietnamese paper to complete his new Origami models, Nguyen Nam Son has put Vietnam on the global map. Like other people who have a passion for Origami, which is the Japanese… Read more »

Viettel FC fined for yellow card deluge in league match

In the 2-1 victory over SHB Da Nang, Brazilian Caíque Lemes, Bui Duy Thuong, Truong Van Thiet, Nguyen Trong Dai and Nguyen Thanh Binh were each dealt a yellow card for committing fouls.… Read more »

Vietnamese-American movie star named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Asians 2021

Vietnam-born actress Kelly Marie Tran has just been honored in the Top 100 Most Influential Asians 2021. The list is meant to honor people who have made contributions and positive impacts on the… Read more »

Football leagues suspended amid new Covid wave

The decision to suspend them was made by the Vietnam Professional Football JSC and the Vietnam Football Federation. The VPF said the pandemic situation is growing complicated in some localities, affecting the organization… Read more »

Fighting rings once popular public events in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

Before 1975, when Vietnam was reunified, Go Cong – nowadays Tien Giang Province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta – was a hub for well-attended martial arts exhibitions, which appealed to highly-skilled fighters from famed… Read more »

Empty streets of Hoi An after COVID-19 new cases detected

No one can be spotted on the pedestrian zone in Hoi An Town. The town that had been bustling with tourists during freshly-concluded break for public holidays fell silent following the municipal government’s… Read more »

Woman collects garbage in 39 out of Vietnam's 63 provinces

At the age of 33, Giang Thi Kim Cuc could have bought an apartment already if she had not spent so much money on courses in environmental protection and human resources management. The… Read more »

International community criticize China's acts of destabilizing East Sea

China’s continued deployment of ships in the East Sea has been criticized by the international community (Photo: AFP) The Philippines has sent two more diplomatic protests to China, saying that the continued swarming… Read more »

International community criticize China's new moves in East Sea

China’s continued deployment of ships in the East Sea has been criticized by the international community (Photo: AFP) The Philippines has sent two more diplomatic protests to China, saying that the continued swarming… Read more »

Vietnamese woman works to involve ethnic minority farmers in clean agriculture

After several years of trial and error, Huynh Thi Quoc Tri has successfully equipped rural farmers, including ethnic minority households in central Vietnam, with the skills they need for a transition to clean farming. Tri,… Read more »

Vietnamese theatre to perform famous Greek tragedy at online Asian festival

Set in a mythical era, Prince Oedipus defies the fate of “killing his father and marrying his mother” and becomes King, only to face the most horrible test he could ever imagine. Photo… Read more »

Close-up look at Dien Bien Phu Campaign panorama painting

The section that describes citizens going to the battle. (Photo: VNA) The Frech Army’s attack. (Photo: VNA) The scene shows Vietnamese soldiers pulling the cannon into the battlefield, demonstrated by both painting and… Read more »

Vietnam Children’s Fine Arts Awards 2021 to be organized

Entries should reflect love for the nation, daily life of the children and their love for Uncle Ho, grandparents, parents and families, among others. Photo for illustration It aims to encourage and facilitate… Read more »

Recipe: Watermelon ice-cream for a cool and fresh summer - Video

Watermelon ice-cream is easy to make. The ingredients do not include milk and dairy products, so it is suitable for those who want to stay in good shape. Watermelon is rich in vitamin… Read more »

Rescue soldiers save suicidal girl from jumping off 18th floor, with video

(Video: VTV) At around 11 a.m. on May 2, residents at Duc Khai apartment building in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7 noticed what looked like a potentially suicidal woman sitting on the… Read more »

Woman makes unique 'Vietnamese style' bento boxes

Despite living in Japan for over two decades, Yamamoto Chihiro (Phuong in Vietnamese) has never been able to forget the delicate, fragrant flavors of the Vietnam of her youth. It is with this… Read more »

“True Italian Taste” 2021 promotes Italian cuisine in Vietnam

Over the years, “True Italian Taste” events have been held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with diverse activities, including workshops and seminars, incoming business and training activities, master classes, and events… Read more »

Bien Ho, a freshwater lake 800 meters above sea level

Sea Lake is a natural freshwater lake located seven kilometres northwest of Pleiku city center and 800 meters above sea level. It actually encompasses two connected lakes in the middle of a pine… Read more »

Thousands of vehicles flock to Hanoi after holiday break

(Photo: Bao Tin Tuc) On May 2 afternoon, countless people with full backpacks drove back to Hanoi to resume working. (Photo: Bao Tin Tuc) Those families with small children set off early to… Read more »

"True Italian Taste" 2021 in Vietnam: Promoting famous Italian cuisine

Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Antonio Alessandro at the press conference. Photo: The People’s Army Newspaper Over the years, “True Italian Taste” events have been held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with… Read more »

Photo and book exhibitions to mark elections organized in Can Tho

At the opening ceremony (Photo: VOV) This is also one of various activities to mark the 46th anniversary of the Liberation of the South and National Reunification (April 30, 1975 – 2021) and… Read more »

Recipe: Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping Sauce with Caramelized Fish Sauce

It’s a great way to eat your vegetables. Vietnamese cooking often has fish sauce or dipping sauce with a fish sauce base, and this dipping sauce makes it a great way to eat… Read more »

Vietnamese young men got int'l applause for making Bugatti Chiron using clay

Photo: HotCars Recently, HotCars – famous car news and reviews website uploaded photos of a Bugatti Chiron made of clay that looks like the real one. The car was made by “Nhet TV”,… Read more »

Recipe: Chicken steamed in lotus leaves, with video

Photo: VN Express Chicken steamed in lotus leaves is a popular dish in Asian countries. In other countries, this dish is often made with many different spices and wrapped in dry lotus leaves,… Read more »

5 fantastic ideas for a holiday with your family

1. Go on a vacation with your family Bat Trang Pottery. Photo: VOV Holidays are perfect time to go on a long, relaxing vacation and explore places that you have never been before.… Read more »

Exhibition of lacquer paintings held in Hanoi

A work at the exhibition On display at the event are 83 newly composed paintings by members of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association. The exhibits feature beauties of the Vietnamese country and people.… Read more »

Hoan Kiem Lake shows off glamour during freshwater mangrove's fall foliage season

(Photo: VOV) During this magical time of the year, anyone going past Hoan Kiem Lake will be enchanted by the sheer beauty of nature during fall foliage season. (Photo: VOV) The road along… Read more »

Five special and delicious Chinese snacks you can try in a market in Saigon

Chives cake Photo: Indochina Voyages Chives cake is made from rice flour and chives leaves, the cake is flat or square in shape. The Chinese get rice flour mixed with boiling water, knead… Read more »

This Vietnamese man woos tourists with his collections of discarded wood and vintage bikes

Nghi’s showcase of intricately shaped, centuries-old wood salvaged from riverbeds and his prized collection of over 500 retro- and neo-style motorbikes are a hit amongst tourists visiting An Giang Province in Vietnam’s Mekong… Read more »

Join Charity Cycle Adventure to raise fund to help vulnerable kids to stay in education

Saigon Children’s Charity – Charity Cycle Adventure. Accordingly, CCA welcomes a range of enthusiastic cyclists from all over the world who can combine their love of cycling through the spectacular scenery of Vietnam… Read more »

This French bakery nurtures poor students’ dreams in Ho Chi Minh City

Located at the end of a series of classrooms in Thu Duc City, which is under Ho Chi Minh City, a small class named The French Bakery has become home for many poor students… Read more »

Large posters on election dissemination on display in Binh Phuoc

] Visitors to the exhibtion (Source: nhandan.com.vn) The Grassroots Culture Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism cooperated with Binh Phuoc Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism to organize the… Read more »

Books and photos about studying and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality and style display

Visitors to the exhibition (Source: http://kinhtedothi.vn) It is an occasion of political and ideological activities for numerous officers and soldiers, thereby replicating, developing and fostering more typical examples and examples in studying and following… Read more »

Public security forces thoroughly grasp the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress

The overview of the conference (Source: http://bocongan.gov.vn) Studying and grasping the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress must be conducted urgently and seriously, in association with the successful implementation of the task of… Read more »

A conference to review the five-year implementation of the Directive 05 at Son La provincial Border Guards Party Committee

The conference to review the five-year implementation of the Directive 05-CT/TW (Source: baosonla.org.vn) During the implementation of Directive 05-CT/TW, the Party Committee of Son La Provincial Border Guards recognized many models and good examples… Read more »

Tran Yen, first new-style rural district in Vietnam’s northwestern mountains

Farmer Nguyen Duc Minh (Photo: VOV) Raising silkworms has boosted the income of Nguyen Duc Minh of Lan Dinh hamlet in Tran Yen, though it’s harder than farming. “Let me give you an… Read more »

HCMC among top cities with the lowest cost of living in Southeast Asia

Vietnam’s largest urban expanse, is also the place that attracts thousands of expats for job and livelihood opportunities. iPrice has conducted a comparison research on the average monthly cost of living for six… Read more »