• Great Crane Project

Great Crane Project, Somerset

Since 1981, cranes have nested or attempted to nest in East Anglia and on the Humberhead levels, but the population still has a tenuous foothold in the UK.

Through the Landfill Communities Fund, Viridor Credits has given the Great Crane Project £700,00 over the last three years to re-introduce a population of common cranes into the Somerset levels and moors, to help secure its future as a UK breeding species.

The project is a partnership between the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Pensthorpe Conservation Trust. Viridor Credits' funding will build a hatching and rearing facility for crane chicks at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre - the starting point for the Great Crane Project and a release enclosure in the wetlands of Somerset. The rearing facility builds on the knowledge and expertise gained over the past three years at WWT's hugely popular Crane School exhibit. Here, crane chicks have been raised by aviculture staff wearing specially created crane suits and fed using customised crane head litter pickers to finely tune the techniques for raising crane chicks prior to release.

This spring, UK conservationists will travel to Germany to carefully collect the first crane eggs for release with the help of their German colleagues and transport them back to the new Crane School rearing facility at WWT Slimbridge in the UK. Once hatched, the chicks will learn how to forage for food, interact with other cranes and avoid predators at Slimbridge. The first release of cranes into the wetlands of Somerset is planned for autumn 2010. Dr Debbie Pain, the WWT's director of conservation said: "Cranes are magnificent birds that were driven from their wetland habitats and hunted to extinction long ago. Now with Viridor Credits' support we are determined to give them another go at survival."

In 2012, Viridor Credits was pleased to award a further £600,000 to the Great Crane Project, enabling the good work to continue until 2015.

For more information

Press Release - April 2013

The Great Crane Project (External site, opens in new window)

Viridor Credits' Crane page!

Swampy (External site, opens in new window)

Main Image Copyright Nick Upton

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