Tamed crane leaves Western Slope | VailDaily.com

Tamed crane leaves Western Slope

John Gardner
Vail, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox / Post Independent file photoNanci Limbach determined at Silt's wildlife rehab center that this crane was too dependant on humans to return to the wild. The bird may be headed for a Front Range zoo.

SILT ” A male greater sandhill crane that was housed at the Schneegas Wildlife Foundation near Silt has flown to a new home.

Temporarily at least.

The crane received media attention because it was raised by a rancher near Nucla for three years, where it was fed cat food and raised as a pet. For now, the bird is nesting at the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Frisco Creek wildlife rehabilitation center near Del Norte, until a suitable home can be found.

“Basically the Silt facility figured out that the bird couldn’t be trained to go into the wild again,” Division of Wildlife spokesperson Joe Lewandowski said. “We will hold it until it has a permanent place to go.”

That may be a short wait, Lewandowski said.

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The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, which currently has other cranes, has already shown an interest in the sharp-beaked bird, he said.

Before moving to the zoo, the crane will have to pass veterinary tests to ensure the health and safety of other animals housed at the zoo. The decision could happen in as little as a few weeks but no timeline is certain, the zoo said.

In the meantime it will live in a flight cage at the Division of Wildlife facility where it has plenty of room to roam, Lewandowski said.

“It follows the caretaker around like a little puppy,” he said.

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