Eagle Optics Helps with Cuban Sandhill Cranes

Here's another way we're helping out at Eagle Optics.

In the United States, the Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) is the most abundant crane species. However, in Cuba, the Cuban Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis nesoites) is classified as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Found only in Cuba, this crane population’s survival is dependant upon open grasslands and savannas. Eagle Optics recently had the privilege to help the International Crane Foundation (ICF) in their efforts to help the Cuban Sandhill Crane or the la grulla cubana.

The ICF has sponsored seven expeditions over the last ten years to aid Cuban colleagues with research and educational efforts. Mrs. Xiomara Galves, who completed her PhD studies with the support of ICF in 2003, has spearheaded these efforts. Some of the accomplishments include surveying and identifying 12 populations of 650 of Cuban Sandhill Cranes, fitting radio transmitters on ten cranes to follow their seasonal movements, and educating the local communities on the importance of habitat conservation and creating activities and festivals centered on the cranes.

In 2006, a group of formal and non-formal educators want to travel to the Isle of Youth, Cuba to build upon activities and conservation education started ten years ago. In the Isle of Youth is the Los Indios Ecological Reserve that hosts the largest known population of Cuban Sandhill Cranes (about 170 birds). The education work centers on a week long Cuban Sandhill Crane Festival, where communities, government officials and schools surrounding significant crane areas celebrate the presence of cranes and other endangered and endemic species. There will be student and teacher workshops, presentations and an international art exchange. In 2004, a record of 680 American students from 14 schools across five states contributed crane artwork that was sent to their Cuban counterparts. Cuban children on the Isle of Youth created artwork, which was presented to the participating American school, creating the art exchange.

The ICF team of educators also shares resources, donations of school supplies and information on the cranes. Cuban school children and educators share activities and performances with the IFC team helping to create a sense of civic responsibility and stewardship towards natural resources like the cranes and their habitat.

To help support the Cuban efforts with the crane research and education, Eagle Optics donated ten binoculars and a spotting scope with a tripod. Cuban biologists, researchers, educators and students to observe the cranes and other endemic species and their nesting habits will use these. Some of the optics sent include Eagle Optics Denalis, and an Eagle Optics Raven Scope with a tripod.