The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is dedicated to the study and preservation of cranes. Currently, 11 of the 15 crane species are endangered or threatened. The cranes, found on five continents, are adapted for life in wetlands and grasslands. Destruction and degradation of these ecosystems throughout the world has had devastating impact on cranes and other wildlife. ICF programs emphasize ecosystems conservation, by working with people at local and national levels to sustain short-term human needs while safeguarding long-term values of functioning ecosystems for wildlife and for people.
Since 1973, ICF has worked with scientists, conservationists, and government officials from the countries where cranes are endangered. ICF has had a lead role in developing captive breeding techniques. ICF cooperates with zoos and other centers in producing chicks for reintroduction programs for Whooping, Siberian, Red-crowned, White-naped cranes and Wattled Cranes. ICF has sponsored numerous workshops and research projects, resulting in over a dozen volumes of crane papers. Cranes are now among the best known birds. ICF's staff coordinates a network of hundreds of conservationists; the ICF library disseminates crane and conservation information worldwide.
ICF has become increasingly involved in habitat protection. Cranes, because of their striking beauty and unique significance in many cultures, inspire awareness and action on behalf of wildlife and wetlands, serving as important symbols for conservation. Because of their dependence on large expanses of wetlands, cranes have catalyzed conservation action for wetlands on five continents, benefiting hundreds of plant and animal species.
ICF education efforts include on-site visitation (the only place to see all 15 crane species), outreach through North America, and opportunities for Americans to work directly on international conservation.