North American Crane Working Group


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Barcelo, I., J.R. Lopez, and F. Chavez-Ramirez. Rural inhabitant perceptions of sandhill cranes in northern Mexico wintering areas. In: Hartup, Barry K., ed., Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Crane Workshop, Sep 23-27, 2008, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin (Baraboo, WI: North American Crane Working Group, 2010), pp. 196.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


While a large proportion of the sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) population winters in northern Mexico, little information is available regarding conservation status of wetlands and human dimension issues. We conducted preliminary interviews of rural inhabitants living near wetlands used by cranes in 3 Mexican estates. One hundred percent of interviewees affirmed to know cranes, see them regularly (100%), and were capable of describing cranes. Winter is the time most have seen cranes (78%) with fall being second (20%). Most cranes were observed in lakes (56%), agriculture fields (35%), and cattle troughs (2%). Most responded to have seen 0-100 cranes (41%), while larger numbers were reported by smaller percentages. Most interviewees believed cranes eat corn (66%), oats (21%), sorghum (5%), and others items including wheat, insects, and cow droppings (2% each). Foraging was observed in agriculture fields (83%) with less in lakes (15%). Most did not know where cranes came from (71%), while smaller percentages said Canada (24%) and the United States (2%). A majority (58%) said they were not affected by the arrival of cranes, but 43% said they were. The negative effects were described as destroyed crops (31%), eating corn (23%), and diminished production. Those affected said they could implement scare tactics (70%), while others suggested harvesting on time (5%), checking crops regularly (5%), and hunting as possible solutions. Most (90%) said they did not hunt the cranes, 5% mentioned they used to and 3% said they still hunt them. These results offer a glimpse of the attitudes of rural inhabitants in northern Mexico towards cranes.