The KwaZulu-Natal Crane Foundation (KZNCF) is the only non-profit organization in the province solely dedicated to the conservation of South Africa’s three threatened crane species. Since 1989, the foundation has successfully fostered public awareness of the threats to crane survival and encouraged active stewardship of KwaZulu-Natal’s diminishing wetland and grassland ecosystems upon which cranes and human communities depend.
Visit their website: www.kzncrane.co.za
KZNCF Crane Rearing Facility
Looking like giant iQukwane (Zulu beehive huts) the KZNCF’s state of the art Crane chick rearing facility was opened at the Usher foundation facility in Nottingham Road in May, 2014. Just in time to host its first three ‘guests’.
The facility includes incubation and hatcher rooms, a brooder room and individual indoor night pens, to accommodate up to seven chicks per breeding season. The adjoining naturalised outdoor enclosure allows the chicks to explore in safety, whilst the large dome is a predator-proof exercise pen, containing a simulated wetland environment with pools and wetland plants designed to allow the chicks to learn to forage and select appropriate natural food.
The chicks are reared by costumed care givers or “chick Mum’s”, using handpuppets, in the form of adult crane heads, to feed the chicks. The main facility at the centre therefore includes
accommodation for the Chick Mums, who have to care for the newly hatched chicks at all hours during the cold Nottingham Road winters.