is a population management programme for a (endangered) species
kept in EAZA (European Association of Zoo's and Aquaria) institutions.
Each EEP has a coordinator (someone with a special interest in and
a knowledge of the species concerned, who is working in an EAZA
zoo. He/she is assisted by a Species Committee and a Taxon Advisory
The coordinator has to collect information on
the status of all the animals of the species, for which he/she is
responsible, kept in EAZA zoo's and aquaria. He/she has to produce
a studbook regularly and will carrying out demographical and genetical
analyses and producing a plan for the future management of the species.
He/she works together with, or initiates reintroduction programmes
and conservation projects for the EEP species.
Together with the Species Committee, recommendations
are made on which animals should breed or not and which animal should
go from one zoo to another. Together they compile Management and
The number of EEP's existing at the end of 2002
is 142. (2 for Invertebrates; 6 for Reptiles, 35 for birds and 99
for mammals. For most of these and other species, similarly programmes
are existing in other regions of the world. More then hundred other
species are monitored by an ESB (European Studbook).
Crane EEP's: Red-crowned (G. japonensis),
Siberian (G. leucogeranus) and White-naped
Crane ESB's: Blue (A. paradisea),
Hooded (G. monacha) and Western Crowned (B.
Grus japonensis - Red-crowned
The Red-crowned Crane is, after the Whooping
Crane, the second rarest crane species. The total population
in the wild is about 2,000 birds. They breed in large
wetlands in East Asia and winter along rivers and in
coastal and freshwater marshes in Japan, China and Korea
Peninsula. There are two main breeding populations:
a migratory population breeding in northeastern China
and Russia and wintering in southern China and Korea
and a resident population on the island of Hokkaido
(Japan). The species is classified as Endangered
in the IUCN Red List Categories.
Red-crowned Cranes prefer to nest and feed
in marshes with relatively deep water, and will nest only in areas with standing dead vegetation.
They are generalist feeders and prefer wetter feeding sites, but also forage along dikes
and in croplands. On their wintering grounds they feed on waste (or human-provided) grain,
and on aquatic plants and animals in coastal marshes
and open watercourses.
Principal threats to the species are habitat
loss and degradation. Breeding areas in Hokkaido, in
northeastern China, and the Amur River basin in Russia
are affected by agricultural and industrial development.
Other threats to breeding, migration, and wintering
habitat are water control, disturbance, harvesting and
fires at the breeding areas.
The EEP for Red-crowned cranes was established
in 1990. The population in 33 European Institutions
was at that time 105 birds. Due to improved management
and breeding (and some imports of captive born birds
from other regions) the captive population increased
with more then 200% and on 31/12/2002 the European captive
population counted 230 birds in 56 EAZA and 110 birds
in 25 Non-EAZA Institutions. A total of 340 birds !!!
This is almost the carrying capacity for this species
in EAZA Institutions and this give us the opportunity
to send birds and/or eggs to Russian for reintroduction
projects. (See Conservation Chapter)
Grus leucogeranus - Siberian Crane
After the Whooping and the Red-crowned
Cranes, the Siberian Crane is the third rarest species
of cranes. The total population was estimated to only
a few hundred until 1981. That year, a Chinese biologists
however discovered a wintering flock of 830-850 cranes
at Poyang Lake in China. Through more adequate field
surveys the total population is now estimated upward
to 2900-3000 birds.
The species is classified as Endangered
under the IUCN Red List Categories. The Central and
Western populations are Critically Endangered.
The species is divided into three populations.
The Eastern population (2900 birds) breeds in northeastern Siberia
and winters along the middle Yangtze River in China.
The Central population ( 2-5 birds) winters
regularly at Keoladeo National Park in India. The Western population (7-11 birds), winters along the south
coast of the Caspian Sea in Iran.
The Siberian Crane is the most highly specialized
member of the crane family in terms of habitat requirements, morphology, vocalizations,
and behavior. It is the most aquatic of the cranes, exclusively using wetlands for
nesting, feeding, and roosting. It nests in bogs, marshes,
and other wetland types of the lowland tundra and taiga,
preferring wide expanses of shallow fresh water with
good visibility. Migration and wintering habitats are
more varied, but feeding and roosting sites are found
only in shallow wetlands, including artificial water
impoundments in India and Iran. It is most frequently observed probing in wetlands
for its preferred foods; the roots, tubers, sprouts,
and stems of sedges and other aquatic plants.
The EEP for this species has been established
in 2001. The EEP population on 31/12/2002 was: 59 males
and 57 females (116) in 10 Institutions. Our goals for
the coming years are to form a strong, healthy self
sustaining population with a high genetic diversity.
Surplus animals and/or eggs will be used for reintroduction
projects. (See Conservation Chapter)