There are 15 different types of cranes all over the world. Nowadays, many of them have become endangered species and are facing extinction as their natural habitats have been largely destroyed by human being. The red-crowned crane (丹頂鶴), also known as japanese crane, is one of them. It is a special species which can be found in east asia and is featured with a little red hat on its head. Towards the north of Japan in a small village called Tsurui (鶴居村), thanks to a granny who has been trying very hard to protect the natural habitats of Japanese cranes and keeps feeding them throughout her life, their number maintains.

Japanese crane was listed as natural monument 

As Japanese crane looks elegant and has highly distinguished colours: red, white, black. It symbolises luck, royalty and long life. It has 3 longs: long beak, long neck and long legs. Normally, red-crown cranes have to migrate to and fro the breeding place and the winter habitat. However, in Hokkaido, they simply stay throughout the whole year without migrating. This may be due to the fact that they are regular fed by the local people and the food source is sufficient all year round.

Japanese cranes live near swamps and swamp meadows. They eat fresh water fish and shrimps, mollusks and some plant roots for living. During the courtship displays, they utter penetrating vocalizations. Unison calls are given by both sexes before the seducing dances. ( ˭̵̵̵̵͈́◡ु͂˭̵̵̵͈̀ )ˉ̞̭♡

In 1935, red-crowned cranes and their breeding places were listed as “natural moment” (天然紀念物). In 1952, the red-crowned cranes in Kushiro (釧路), Hokkaido (北海道) were listed as “special natural moment” (特別天然紀念物).

An old lady in Kushiro as the mother of the Japanese cranes

If you ever have the chance to go the crane feeding area – Tsurumidai (鶴見台) in Kushiro (釧路), you may have the occasion to see an old lady who is wearing a pair of rubber boots with a binocular around her neck, please show your highest respect to her. Without her, we might not be able to see so many Japanese cranes today. ໒( •́ ∧ •̀ )७

She’s Ms. Watanabe Tome (渡部トメさん) who is around 80-90 years old. She donated the land of Tsurumidai and has been feeding the cranes for more than 50 years. I regard her as the mother of the Japanese cranes and I will call her Granny Crane.

The vending machine in Tsurumidai is the source of income for continuously feeding the cranes

Granny Crane has refused to get any funding from the Japanese government for feeding the Japanese cranes. In order to thank her, the government built a house there for her and has put a vending machine there. The money received will serve as the income for Granny Crane, so that she can buy food to feed the cranes.

When you go inside Tsurumidai, you will see the red vending machine immediately. Please don’t hesitate to buy a bottle, two bottles or few bottles of drinks from this machine. This is probably the most meaningful drink you have ever bought from a vending machine. (۶ꈨຶꎁꈨຶ )۶ʸᵉᵃʰᵎ

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