Lazy baby crane needs extra swimming lessons

May 13, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

Meet Larry the baby crane who is so lazy that animal handlers have been forced to give him extra – swimming lessons.

The fluffy youngster is part of a breeding programme in which 24 cranes are being reared to re-introduce the rare species to Britain from Germany.

But while his peers happily swim around during daily exercises, Larry simply stands and watches from the sidelines.

The cranes grow up to one centimetre a day and require an active life to ensure their muscles and bones develop sufficiently.

So breeders have been forced to give Larry extra daily swimming lessons to ensure he does not fall too far behind his classmates.

Nigel Jarrett, Head of Conservation Breeding at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Glos., said: ”Each young crane has its own personality and traits.

”There is nothing wrong with Larry at all he just needs a bit of extra motivation to move about.

”There are times in our lives when we all need encouragement and I have no doubt that he will turn out to be just as active as the rest.

”We are doing the extra swimming with him to make sure his bones grow long and strong and he is doing really well.”

Larry is one of the first wave of cranes which will be released into the wild later this year as part of a bid to re-introduce the Great Crane to the wild.

The project hit a stumbling block last week as the ash cloud grounded flights and meant
the eggs had to be driven for 17 hours from a wetlands centre north of Berlin.

The chicks are currently at  ”crane school” where they are taught by handlers disguised as cranes how to forage for food, swim, socialise and protect themselves from predators.

The birds will then be transferred to a temporary release enclosure on the Somerset Levels and Moors later this summer before they are released into the wild.

The project is run in partnership by the WWT, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust.

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