The Siberian Crane (CRANE)



               CASE NUMBER: 170
               CASE MNEMONIC: CRANE
               CASE NAME: The Siberian Crane      
          
          A.  IDENTIFICATION
          1.  The Issue
          Cranes, the oldest birds on earth, date back 60 million
years. The 15 species, however, total no more than a million
birds worldwide today, and seven of these species are endangered.
In the most danger, is the Siberian Crane, a tall, stately bird
with luminescent white plumage and a bright red face and beak.    
It is obvious that Siberian Cranes have paid a heavy toll for
human activities: Russia's domestic turmoil, the Afghan civil war
and the subordination of nature to economic imperatives in lands
as diverse as China, India and the newly independent republics of
Central Asia. Fortunately, the Siberian Crane has become a symbol
for international efforts to preserve endangered birds and their
environments, much as the whooping crane was the subject of
preservation two decades ago in the United States.
          2.  Description
          There are mainly three Siberian crane populations, the
larger of which spends summers in Yakutia, about 2,000 kilometers
northeast of the "Ob" river and migrates to China. This
population is called "Eastern population". A decade ago, George
Archibald, director of the International Crane Foundation of
Baraboo, Wisconsin, counted 1,350 Sibes at that flock's winter
quarters at Poyang Lake in China's Jianxi Province (Archibald
1994). The Central population spends summers in the east of the
Ural Mountain, close to the city of Gorki and migrates to the
Keoladeo National Park of India. However, this population has
almost become extinct because of the domestic developments within
Russia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In the winter of 1964-1965,
there were 200 Siberian cranes in the Park. By 1990-91, the
number dropped to 10, and in 1992-93, to five. In the winter of
1993-94, despite a unique U.S.-Russian effort, no Siberians came
(Lexis/Nexis). The Western population spends summers near the
Volga River in the southwest of the Ural Mountains and later
migrates to northern Iran. This flock also is believed to have
come to the brink of extinction. Although the Siberian Crane was
not sighted in this area for many years, in the winter of 1995
Iranian experts reported that two Siberian cranes came to the
Iran-Afghanistan border. 
          In order to explain the relationship between
environment and trade in this case, it will be helpful to analyze 
specific characteristics of states, which serve as homelands to
the Siberian Crane.    
         a) Russia: The political and economic changes that have
swept across Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union
during the past five years have had an enormous impact on
biodiversity conservation. With the demise of communism, newly
autonomous and semi-autonomous regions of Russia have regained
political power and now exhibit a desire to maintain control of
their lands, including the natural resources. Simultaneously a
new entrepreneurial class has emerged, eager to exploit newly
available natural resources with little regard for the
environmental impact of unplanned development. In a report, the
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) called on governments to help
fund a $17 million program to maintain Russia's endangered nature
reserves - zapovedniki. The WWF said that there had been attempts
to abolish at least six of the "zapovedniki", and uncontrolled
logging, mining and farming was advancing (Lexis/Nexis).    
Before giving specific examples, it is important to note that in
Winter, Siberian cranes feed almost exclusively on aquatic roots
and sedge tubers found in wetlands. The cranes perish if the
wetlands drain.
          The Amur, which is one of the most important migration-
stopping-point of the Siberian Crane, is threatened by proposed
water projects. The most immediate threat is the proposed
"Khinganskiy Dam," a large hydropower project that China and
Russia would build jointly with international aid. Russia would
benefit from the energy generated, the irrigation made possible,
and the influx of foreign money, but China has even more of a
stake in seeing the dam constructed. With its 1.2 billion people
placing intensive pressure on the land, the Chinese government
wants to move 100 million people into the nation's sparsely
populated northern region, along the Amur.  
          In the Baikal region, the logging is for domestic
purposes and is devoted largely to supplying fuel for the
region's pulp and paper mills; but enormous areas of taiga forest
are being cut, with accompanying pollution. There is also
considerable pollution from mills and mines, and there is the
disruption of rivers from hydropower dams such as a huge complex
at Bratsk, on the Angara, which drains lake Baikal into the
Yenisey River and the Arctic Ocean (Matthiessen: 79).
          The situation in the far north is no better. The mining
pollution of Yakutia rivers constitutes a serious threat to the
cranes' migration routes. Russia is also mining gold to obtain
hard currency, and extensive drilling for oil and gas is being
planned.
          b)China: The "Three Gorges Dam" that is being
constructed on the Yangtze River will be the world's largest
hydroelectric dam and call for huge investment and the
resettlement of over one million inhabitants around the project
site. Environmentalists claim that the dam will jeopardize
several endangered species, including the Siberian Crane, sine it
will alter the way floodwaters replenish the Poyang Lake
(Lexis/Nexis).
          Secondly, Chinese poachers using pesticides are
slaughtering birds along the Yangtze River. Poachers scatter
grain contaminated with pesticides around the lake, and birds
that eat grain die almost instantly. A series of investigative
reports in Shanghai's "Liberation Daily" said 300,000 birds are
killed each year on Poyang Lake, and among them are Siberian
Cranes. Wei Haichang, the Pyong Lake sanctuary's administrator
also reported that "[I]n the past two or three years the
sanctuary has lost 10,000 birds annually to poachers after
restaurants in the area started putting them on the menu"
(Lexis/Nexis).                
          Thirdly, the Chinese government's vast development
plans for the Heilongjiang Province will exacerbate the drainage
problem. Heilongjiang contains much of what is left of China's
hardwood forests, and government plans for vast development of
the entire region include the cutting of several hundred million
board feet of timber in the next ten years. This great plain has
been designated the "northern food basket" of China, and has
already lost half of its wetlands to drainage, large-scale clear-
cutting, and agriculture (Matthiessen: 79).
          c)Pakistan: The central Indus and its wetlands provide
an important habitat in Asia for large flocks of migrating
cranes, most notably the endangered Siberian Crane. But it
supports a great deal of human activity as well. Most of
Pakistan's 122 million people live within its watershed and
receive all or part of their water supply from the river, which
courses through the country for more than 1,000 miles. Cattle and
goats graze along its banks. People gather riverside vegetation
to feed livestock and to use as cooking and heating fuel. They
gather marsh grasses for roofing materials. The number of cranes
and other wildlife species has already diminished, and with the
country's population growing at an annual rate of 3.1 percent,
the pressures are increasing, particularly the demand for
irrigation water (Lexis/Nexis).
          Secondly, Pakistani hunters practice the ancient sport
of tossing "sollas" -weighted cords- to ensnare low-flying cranes
near migratory stops (Archibald: 135). A crane hunter field
survey was held in 1983 by the North-West Frontier Province
(NWFP) Wildlife Department of Pakistan, World Wildlife Fund
(WWF)-Pakistan and the experts form the United States. A total of
921 questionnaires had been administered. Hunters reported owning
5,701 cranes (3,223 common cranes and 2,478 demoiselle cranes).
"Of that figure, 51 percent had been caught by the hunter and 42
percent had been purchased. Most of the hunters kept their cranes
as decoys (85 percent) or for gifts for friends (10 percent).
Very few hunters (5 percent) reported eating the cranes that they
caught" (Landfried et.al. 1995). The survey proved demonstrated
that crane hunting was more than previously believed and was
rapidly increasing in popularity. Especially widespread hunting
in the spring posed immediate threat to the survival of the
Siberian crane and had serious long-term implications for common
and demoiselle cranes (Landfried: 133).
          3.Related Cases: 
     TIGER Case
     THREEDAM Case

          Key Words 
          4.Draft Author: 
          Nejat DOGAN

     B.   LEGAL Clusters
          Four legal clusters can be cited with regard to the
issue. First, seven environmental groups filed suit on 9/14/93
against two federal agencies, the Bureau of Reclamation and the
Army Corps of Engineers,  for violating the "Endangered Species
Act" by helping design and build a controversial dam in China.
When complete, the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River will be
the world's largest hydroelectric dam. Defenders asked the court
to block any U.S. participation in the Three Gorges project until
both agencies have complied with federal law by demonstrating
that the project would not jeopardize any species listed as
"endangered" (Lexis/Nexis). Secondly, Russia and China agreed to
build the Khinganskiy Dam on the Amur River together. Thirdly,
wildlife officials in the United States, India, and Russia, with
the assistance of Japan, embarked on a project in 1992 to save
the Western flock and reproduce it in captivity (The New York
Times, March 29, 1994, C4). Finally, Specialists from Azarbaijan,
India, Iran, Kazakhistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and Russia, together with advisors from  the
International Crane Foundation in the United States and the
United Nations Convention on Migratory Species in Germany, met to
exchange current information, agree on an urgent conservation 
strategy, and develop a long-term conservation plan. The experts
recommended that cranes hatched in captivity be released with the
wild cranes on the breeding grounds in Russia and the wintering
grounds in Iran and India. Tiny radios linked to satellites will
be attached  to the cranes to help locate their migration routes.
Priority will also be given to strengthening educational and
training programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan where hunting is
the serious problem. This program is also supported by the United
Nations Environment Program and the World  Wide Fund For Nature
(Internet/Siberian Crane).    
          5. Discourse and Status: AGREE AND INPROG  
          6.  Forum and Scope: NGO AND MULTI 
          7.  Decision Breadth:  10 (AFGHANISTAN, AZERBAIJAN,
INDIA, IRAN, KAZAKHISTAN, PAKISTAN, RUSSIA, TURKMENISTAN,
UZBEKISTAN, U.S.A.)
          8.  Legal Standing: NGO  
          C.   GEOGRAPHIC Clusters
          9.   Geographic Locations
          a.   Geographic Domain : Asia
          b.   Geographic Site   : West Asia 
          c.   Geographic Impact : Russia
          10.  Sub-National Factors:  NO
          11.  Type of Habitat:  TEMP
          D.   TRADE Clusters
          12.  Type of Measure:  REGBAN
          13.  Direct vs. Indirect Impacts:  IND
          14.  Relation of Measure to Environmental Impact
          a.   Directly Related    : YES 
          Six young birds raised in the United States and Russia
were released into the Keoladeo Park in India. 
          b.  Indirectly Related   : NO
          c.  Not Related          : NO
          d.  Process Related      : YES 
          15.  Trade Product Identification:  Siberian Crane     
          16.  Economic Data
          300,000 birds are hunted on Poyang Lake each year. Also
the survey held in Pakistan showed that hunting and trade are
epidemic there. 5,701 cranes were hunted and traded.  
          17.  Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness:  LOW
          18.  Industry Sector:  Entertainment
          19.  Exporter and Importer:  Many and Many
          E.   ENVIRONMENT Clusters
          20.  Environmental Problem Type:  HABIT, SPLA
          21.  Name, Type, and Diversity of Species 
          Name:   Siberian Crane
          Type:   Animal/Bird
          Diversity: Many     
          22.  Impact and Effect:  HIGH and STRCT
          23.  Urgency and Lifetime:  HIGH and 14 
          Mortality and survival rates in birds have usually been
estimated on the basis of recovery rates of banded birds, but
this technique requires a sample size large enough to provide a
reasonable estimate of mortality rates throughout the entire
potential longevity of a species (Johnsgard 1983). Since so few
species of wild cranes have been banded in any numbers,
researchers applied the principles of population analysis by
banding recoveries to a single species, the sandhill crane.
According to this study, in the "fifteenth year" there was no
survivor out of a 1,000 population (the "year" refers to year
following banding rather than actual age of bird, Johnsgard: 40). 
          24.  Substitutes:  BIODG, CONSV
          VI.  OTHER Factors
          25.  Culture:  YES
          According to the survey held in Pakistan, a majority of
the hunters (66 percent) said that their main reason for hunting
cranes was "for the sport of it". Other motivating factors
included enjoyment of the outdoors and sale of the birds.
Moreover, 35 percent hunters said that their fathers had hunted
cranes. The survey portrays that "hunting cranes" has been a part
of Pakistani culture.  
          26.  Human Rights:  YES
          First of all, a regulatory ban of hunting cranes would
affect the daily life in the region. People may consider such a
ban as an aggression on their rights, since hunting is a critical
component of the regional culture. Secondly, any solution that
would bring to the drainage problem may block the process of
economic transformation thus exacerbate the macroeconomic
conditions in the region.        
          27.  Trans-Border:  YES
          28.  Relevant Literature
Archibald, George. "The Fading Call of the Siberian Crane,"
          National Geographic, May 1994, pp.125-136.
Beijing Review 35, May 18, 1992, pp.44-45.
Internet/Siberian Crane
Jacobson, Susan K. Conserving Wildlife. New York: Columbia  
          University Press, 1995.
Johnsgard, Paul A. Cranes of the World. Bloomington: Indiana
          University Press, 1983.
Landfried, Steven E., Muhammed M.Malik, Ashiq Ahmad, and A.Aleem
          Chaudhry, "Integrated Crane Conservation Activities in
          Pakistan: Education, Research and Public Relations," in
          Jacobson pp.121-155.
Lee, James. Ted Cases Collection (unpub.), American University,  
          1995.
Lexis/Nexis- ENVIRN/ALLNWS/Siberian Crane
Matthiessen, Peter. "The Last Cranes of Siberia," The New Yorker,
          May 3, 1993, pp.76-86.
The New York Times, March 29, 1994, p.C4     
Wildlife Conservation 96, July-August 1993, p.6.



Back to previous menu
Go to Crane Case