Crane manages to fight off three tigers in safari struggle
The red-crowned crane is a well-respected animal in China. Also known as the Manchurian crane, this elegant East Asian bird is one of the largest and rarest cranes in the world. In China, it is often featured in myths and legends, such as in Taoism, where it is known as a symbol of longevity and immortality. Similarly, in Korea it is considered a symbol of longevity, purity and peace.
While all this may ring true, after this incident you may associate it far more with the immortal than the peaceful.
An intensely dramatic video has emerged from China of one of these gigantic birds who accidentally stumbled into a tiger enclosure. That's right: a tiger enclosure. While you might expect a tragic end for this avian creature, he got the upper hand in this extended battle. The crane managed not only to survive the encounter, but scared off three tigers in a stunning display of bravado.
In the footage, which was captured in a safari park in the Zhejiang Province, the bird bravely fights back successive attacks for several minutes before the zookeepers intervened. The bird seems to have gotten confused and landed in the wrong enclosure at Fuyang Wildlife Park. Unfortunately, it landed at the worst point in the day: just before feeding time.
You can see the unbelievable event in the video below, in which some tourists captured the moment for all to see:
The red-crowned crane, which is recognisable by the patch of red bare skin on its head that becomes brighter during mating season, usually nests in wetlands and rivers - something that shows it was definitely not in its right state of mind as it landed in the grassy area the tigers are kept in.
Migratory populations can be found in Siberia, northeastern China, and Mongolia, where its diet primarily consists of fish and water-based plants. The crane, which many campaigned to be the national animal of China, is known for being territorial, especially around its young. In the wild it has been witnessed fending off predators such as buzzards, badgers, eagles and even wolves when they attempt to raid its nest.
Its conservation status is currently at endangered, which it was declared to be in 1970. Thanks to the international efforts of wildlife refuges across Russia, China, Japan and Korea, the species has been saved from extinction. Surely the animal would have fared a lot worse if it wasn't for its ability to scare off even the most fearsome of predators, as the above video shows.
According to local reports, the crane escaped serious injury and was eventually rescued from the tigers' enclosure, where it was then transported back to the safety of its own pen. Clearly it will have some stories to tell to the rest of its flock, while the tigers will likely be embarrassed by the entire debacle.