UK crane population hits highest level in 400 years

Species ceased to exist in 1600s due to hunting and severe habitat changes but have since made a comeback, writes Sam Hancock

Tuesday 02 February 2021 01:12
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A pair of Grus grus cranes pictured at the Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve in Suffolk, England
A pair of Grus grus cranes pictured at the Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve in Suffolk, England

The number of cranes inside the UK has reached an all-time high since the species became extinct here 400 years ago, a survey has revealed.  

The research from 2020 – shared by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) on Monday – found 64 new pairs living across Britain, which produced 23 chicks, bringing the total UK crane population to more than 200.  

Cranes, which stand as tall as 4ft, went from being commonplace to non-existent here in the 1600s due to hunting and a decline in their wetland habitat.

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