Dainty but tough, demoiselle cranes add a touch of elegance to the zoo’s rugged outdoors

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Jan. 8, 2014 –
ATTACHED PHOTO: A demoiselle crane (Anthropoides virgo) takes in his surroundings at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo.

The Prospect Park Zoo is now home to three demoiselle cranes, a migratory bird native to eastern Asia and northern Africa. French for “young lady,” demoiselle was the name given to these birds by Queen Marie Antoinette, who described the species as dainty and lady-like. Ironically, the zoo’s demoiselle cranes are all male.

The demoiselle crane is the smallest species of crane, reaching less than three feet tall. It may appear delicate and fragile, but it’s a tough bird that takes on one of the most treacherous migration routes in the wild. In late summer, they begin their aerial journey south to India where it is warm, reaching extreme altitudes of up to 26,000 feet, flying over the high peaks of the Himalayan Mountains. Many die along the way from fatigue, hunger and predation, but by early spring they head back north to nest.

Demoiselle cranes gather into large flocks of approximately 400 birds to begin their migration. This impressive congregation of cranes has become an annual attraction for people living in the area.

At the Prospect Park Zoo, the demoiselle cranes live outdoors alongside western tufted deer. They are not endangered in the wild, but some populations in Asia are declining due to habitat loss. WCS works in the demoiselle crane’s native range to save many endangered species and their habitats, including snow leopards, wild yak, antelope and more.

For further information on this story, or to talk with the experts involved, please contact Barbara Russo at 718-265-3428 or email brusso@wcs.org.

Barbara Russo – 718-265-3428; brusso@wcs.org
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo – $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older, $5 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. weekdays, and to 5:30 P.M. on weekends and holidays, April through October. 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. November through March. The Prospect Park Zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. For further information, call 718-399-7339 or visit www.prospectparkzoo.com.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; facebook.com/TheWCS; youtube.com/user/WCSMedia; follow: @theWCS.

If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org.