The Overberg area is full of many wonders. It is dominated by agricultural land, from orchards to vineyards, to grain. And this creates an artistic assortment of the landscape. In among the vast biodiversity in the Overberg, you’ll also find at least 50 percent of South Africa’s blue crane population. This is what brought the Vice President of the International Crane Foundation (ICF), Jim Harris, and Kerryn Morrison, Manager of the African Crane Conservation Programme (ACCP) at the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to the Western Cape.

Visiting the area for four days, Jim and Kerryn were able to see and count over 100 birds in one area. The vice president was impressed with the thriving population of blue cranes in the region, and appreciated the ongoing co-operation between South Africa and his organisation.

According to Harris, “The agricultural culture in this area is very intricate,” which in turn seems to favour a thriving blue crane population. However, he admits there is still much research that need to be done on South Africa’s national bird. Morrison agrees. “We need to understand the environment from a crane’s perspective, in order to grapple with threats caused for example by climate change.”

The visit is one of many activities being planned across the Overberg for crane conservation. The Overberg Crane Group recently employed a full-time field officer through funding it received from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. This will no doubt ensure crane talk gains momentum again, to hopefully together keep our national bird flying.

By Nandi Thobela