The Siberian Crane Wetland Project (GF/2712-03-4627) was among GEF /UNEP 20 Best Projects in 20 Historic Years of Environmental Finance that was published recently at the GEF/UNEP website （http://www.unep.org/dgef/GEF20BestProjects/tabid/55715/Default.aspx. The GEF project of the Development of a Wetland Site and Flyway Network for Conservation of the Siberian Crane and Other Migratory Waterbirds in Asia (GF/2712-03-4627) was selected as one of the best projects out of nearly a thousand environment protection projects or programs around the world in the past 20 years.
The Siberian Crane protection project has been an endeavor by multiple range states, targeting at maintain the critical important wetland network in Asia and the ecological integrity of the living condition that the migratory water birds inhabit. The Project involved the states of China, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Iran where the Siberian Crane migratory route covered from the east part to the west part. The international coordination body has been the International Crane Foundation headquartered in the Wisconsin, U.S.A. The project lasted from March 2003 to December 2009.
China’s Bird Banding Center at CAF’s Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection has been authorized to implement the Siberian Crane protection project on behalf of the Chinese Government. Five project implementation sites were established, namely Poyanghu Basin, Zhalong National Nature Reserve in Heilongjiang Province, Xianghai/Momoge National Nature Reserve Jilin Province, Ke’erqin National Nature Reserve in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The major activities in China’s Siberian Crane protection project covered the following aspects: Formulating and implementing the protection sites management plan and that of the stakeholders’ participatory plan; Devising educational plan to raise public awareness and conducting environmental publicity events; Launching capacity building activities for the management personnel and the community villages in the protection areas; Working on scientific research and monitoring so as to provide scientific evidence for local and regional planning and for the management decision-making; Implementing community development demonstration projects to reduce community’s dependency on the nature resources; Strengthening international cooperation and exchange to promote the wetland and biodiversity protection.
The Siberian Crane is the most typical species in the wetland ecosystem. The latest survey and monitoring statistics indicates that its total number is around 3,500. It doubtlessly has been one of the international most concerned endangered bird species. The Chinese Government has been exerting its best efforts for the years to protect the world rare and endangered Siberian Crane. The Government categorized the Siberian Crane as national first class protected wild animal and established over 30 nature reserves sites alongside Siberian Crane migratory routes to facilitate the protection of the cranes and its habitat. In order to fulfill the obligation of the “Ramsar Convention on Wetlands” and to enhance exchange and cooperation among the Siberian Crane range states, the State Forestry Administration joined the Northeast Asian Crane Site Network on behalf of the Chinese Government in 1997. And in 1999, proposed in the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, the MOU of Siberian Crane Protection Measures was signed between China, the Russian Federation and others. China has become the significant member in the international network for the world Siberian Crane protection.