International Crane Foundation
International Crane Foundation logo
|Location||E11376 Shady Lane Rd, Baraboo, Wisconsin, 53913, USA|
|Land area||225 acres (91 ha)|
|Number of species||15|
|Memberships||AZA, Travel Green Wisconsin|
The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and conservation of the 15 species of cranes. Founded in 1973, ICF moved to its current 225-acre (91 ha) headquarters near Baraboo, Wisconsin, in 1984.
From the beginning, ICF was pledged to a mix of five essential activities: research, education, habitat protection, captive breeding, and reintroduction. ICF tackled the extensive task of captive breeding of cranes, of which little experience or knowledge had previously existed, resulting in a succession of firsts: their hooded and Siberian cranes were the first to produce young in captivity, and young brolgas and black-necked cranes hatched for the first time in North America. The Foundation was also the first to hatch an endangered species from an egg fertilized by cryogenically preserved semen.
Over the past nearly 40 years, ICF has gathered unique collaborations and led effective community-based conservation programs, important research projects, and innovative captive breeding and reintroduction efforts. These efforts have inspired unusual international cooperation – bringing together North and South Koreans, for example – while helping improve livelihoods for people around the world and leading to the protection of millions of acres of wetlands and grasslands on the five continents where cranes live.
ICF is involved with both species of crane native to North America, the sandhill crane and the whooping crane. ICF is a founding partner of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, dedicated to the breeding and release of the endangered whooping cranes into a new migratory flock in the eastern United States. This flock summers at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, Wisconsin, and winters at the St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, Florida. On June 22, 2006, two wild whooping crane chicks hatched in the Necedah NWR, the first to naturally hatch in the midwestern United States in over 100 years.
ICF maintains a world headquarters that over 25,000 people visit annually (ICF is open to the public April 15 - October 31). This site hosts a captive flock of about 100 cranes. It has the only complete collection of all 15 species ever assembled. The campus offers live crane exhibits, an interactive education center, guided and self-guided tours, a research library, visitor center, and over four miles of hiking trails set among 100 acres of restored tall grass prairie, oak savanna, and wetlands. The crane breeding areas are kept private, away from public view. The ICF also offers many opportunities for volunteering and seasonal internship in aviculture, education, and field ecology.
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ICF began in 1973 as a dream shared by two young men, Ron Sauey and George Archibald, who met as graduate students in ornithology at Cornell University. Their dream was to save the world’s cranes; and that idea has been the driving force behind ICF ever since.
ICF’s first home was a horse farm near Baraboo, Wisconsin, leased to them for $1 a year. Sauey and Archibald converted the barns into crane pens and work areas. Then they contacted zoos all over the world, asking to borrow cranes for the foundation’s breeding program. Cranes and crane eggs arrived from Japan, Europe, the former USSR and North America. The crane population at Baraboo began to grow and chicks began hatching.
The enterprise sparked interest in the town and volunteers, townspeople, and graduate students came to help. Archibald and Sauey worked at the crane foundation and travelled to places where cranes lived. They began to establish friendships and research connections. Sauey traveled to India while Archibald visited Korea, Japan and Australia. Within a few years, they coordinated the development of an international network for crane conservation. The ICF stimulated the governments of South Korea, India, China, and Japan to improve their crane sanctuaries and create new ones.
At Baraboo, the ICF has continued its studies of crane behavior, breeding, and nutrition. The dream became a reality.
The early history of the ICF is excerpted with permission  and redacted.
References and notes
- "History". savingcranes.org. International Crane Foundation. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
- "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
- "Soaring to New Heights: The International Crane Foundation". 1 Thing. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Holstein, Gretchen H.; Thompson, David Hugh (2007). Reflections: The Story of Cranes. Baraboo, Wisconsin: International Crane Foundation.
- "ICF Firsts". Savingcranes.org. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- "Whooping Crane Conservation". Savingcranes.org. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- "Visit ICF". Savingcranes.org. Retrieved 2015-09-05.