If you are ever in the Chorwon area around Feburary you can see a number of these cranes there:
If your travel itinerary for coming months includes places such as Iran, North Korea, China and Tibet, chances would seem pretty good that you are a diplomat being dispatched to some of the world’s hot spots.
Or, maybe, you’re George Archibald.
Archibald is the co-founder and senior conservationist with the International Crane Foundation near here and he spends about half of every year traveling to distant corners of the world on behalf of cranes.
Of all the challenges he’s faced, few present the difficulties that abound with protecting cranes in North and South Korea, an effort that is taking up much of Archibald’s time these days. The turbulent and war-torn history, the thorny politics of a country divided, the involvement of major world powers such as China and Japan, and dark headlines about a lingering nuclear threat, all make for high drama that would seem to overshadow the conservation of a slender-legged crane.
Still, at stake is the fate of one of the most beautiful and charismatic of all the cranes.
The red-crowned crane is the world’s second rarest of 15 crane species with breeding grounds in large wetlands in northeastern China and Russia and wintering areas in Japan, China and the Korean Peninsula. There are, perhaps, 1,300 of the birds on the East Asia mainland and a resident population of about 900 birds on the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan. But that’s all; the destruction of wetlands and other habitat and the encroachment of cities and development, especially in South Korea, have thrown the bird’s future into doubt. [State Journal]
I’m glad to see these birds recovering however the claim of the DMZ as a nature preserve is actually quite overstated, especially when people make claims like this:
Now, armed troops stare at each other’s encampments on either side of the DMZ. But the DMZ itself has proven a haven for all things wild because of its isolation. It is a refuge for Asiatic black bears, leopards, rare Korean tigers, and birds such as the red-crowned crane, which has long used the area as a wintering grounds.
I have spent plenty of time up and around the DMZ and for Korea there is a lot of wildlife, but the amount of wildlife is not a whole lot compared with for example North America or Australia. The DMZ area and Jiri Mountain are still the only areas I have ever spotted deer in Korea. I have also seen some wild boars around the DMZ area as well. Contrary to what this article claims there are no bears, leopards, or tigers along the DMZ. I have never met anyone who has served along the DMZ to include the ROK Army that has ever seen one. This is not a vast wilderness, the DMZ area is small enough that if bears, leopards, and tigers were running around up there someone would have seen it by now.
The DMZ is a nice wildlife area by Korean standards, but why the need by foreign journalists to exaggerate?