Archive: Detroit Zoological Society Provides Sanctuary for Two Sandhill Cranes

Rescued birds are non-releasable due to injuries

June 13, 2018

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

As part of the Detroit Zoological Society’s (DZS’s) global wildlife conservation efforts and renowned animal welfare program, two rescued male sandhill cranes have found sanctuary at the Detroit Zoo after being rescued and rehabilitated.

One of the cranes was found as a chick in 2002 with a wing problem. Rescuers were concerned his injury would keep his parents from migrating, so they took him to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisc., where he was examined and it was determined he would not survive in the wild. The second crane was rescued in South Lyon, Mich., in 2015 with a badly injured wing and was taken to the Howell Nature Center. His injuries required amputation of the wing tip, leaving him unable to fly.

“The sandhill cranes’ story is particularly compelling because these two boys represent an iconic, native Michigan species, and they are rehabilitated, non-releasable birds that have found a great home at the Detroit Zoo,” said DZS Chief Life Sciences Officer Scott Carter. “They provide a great opportunity for our guests who don’t have the chance to experience them in the wild to see and appreciate this amazing Michigan summer resident.”

Sandhill cranes were once at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and low reproduction rates. The U.S. population has rebounded in a number of states after years of conservation and recovery efforts, which include habitat protection and restoration, and protection from hunting. The DZS opposes a proposed recreational hunting season of cranes in Michigan because it could jeopardize the continued recovery of these iconic birds, which are part of the natural ecosystem and popular with birdwatchers.

The sandhill cranes at the Detroit Zoo are residing in a grassy habitat with a pond just west of the guanacos.