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Missing Crane - Press Release

Conservationists in Somerset are growing increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of a crane recently re-introduced to the county as part of the unique Great Crane Project and are appealing for the public to look out for the missing bird.

The tall waterbird, carrying distinctive yellow-blue-red identification rings, was last seen on Friday evening (5 November).

HowardDamon Bridge, Great Crane Project Manager said; “The bird was last seen during routine monitoring of the birds on Friday, but has not been seen with the regular groups since then.”

Following their release into the wild in September the birds are starting to spread their wings and explore the Somerset Levels and Moors. They are closely monitored and a number, including the missing bird, have been fitted with radio trackers.

Damon Bridge: “Interestingly we have not been able to pick the bird up via its radio tracker. This means it may simply have flown out of range, and there are plenty of attractive places for cranes further afield. It’s odd that it’s not returning to the group in the evening as normal – but then this individual has always been a bit of a loner.”

To help in their search the Great Crane Project is appealing for the public to call in sightings.

Damon bridge “We’d really love to hear from anyone who’s seen this bird, she has a unique combination of yellow blue and red rings on her right leg. These should be reasonably visible from a distance.

“Naturally everyone on the Great Crane project team is hoping the bird is found safe and well. Sadly though, if she is not found soon we may be left fearing for the worse. Like any wild bird these cranes are at the mercy of both the elements and even the possibility of collision with man-made structures such as power lines.

“Once we know one way or the other though, we’ll be able to take what we find and feed the knowledge back into the project to make sure the rest of the group don’t face the same issues.”

Members of the public seeing the missing crane should call 01458 254414.

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Damon’s role is to act as the hub of the project - making sure everyone involved knows what is going on and that it is all running smoothly. He is also responsible for project community awareness work in Somerset, construction of the release enclosure, and running the post release monitoring work in Somerset.  Damon works alongside the RSPB reserve teams in Somerset.