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Saving Gloria’s Wings


Once Upon a Time,

Grey Crowned Cranes used to fly the skies and travel where they wanted. Until...


...humans realized their beauty and decided to use them as art. They chopped off their feathers so they couldn’t fly away.


This continued to happen until the cranes started to accept that they could not fly.


Then one day, a curious little crane, Gloria, wondered... I have wings... Why can’t I fly like that?


“I’m going to learn how to fly!” Gloria said.

So she planned to ask her father if she could learn how to fly away.


“I’m sorry Gloria. Grey Crowned cranes were not meant to fly” her father said.


“But if I have wings like the other birds, I should be able to fly.� Gloria said.


“Well a long long time ago, cranes used to soar the skies� her father said.


“See, my dark feathers used to be so much longer, but now the world has changed. Now when we are born, the animals without the wings cut them off � her father told her.


“So if my wings were fixed, then I could fly?” Gloria asked.


“Well Gloria, we aren’t supposed to fly anymore. We are used for art. Don’t waste your time trying to fly when you don’t need to”.


“Not supposed to anymore? Used for art? But I don’t want to be art! I want to fly” Gloria said.


Gloria didn’t think it was fair that she and her family and friends weren’t allowed to fly like those other birds.


So Gloria started thinking about how she could fly again.

What could replace a feather?


She plucked out one of her feathers and started trying to find supplies that looked similar.


She laid them on the ground to compare. She thought the leaf was the most similar to her feather.


She found a stick and went to the pond to get some vines to tie the leaves to the stick to make her wing.


She stuck the leaves through the vine and tied that to the string.


Then she tied it onto her own wings and went to the top of the hill to try out her new wings.


Then she ran off the hill stretched her wings to fly and...


... the leaves started flopping and couldn’t hold her weight, and she fell.


She got up and sighed. “I’ll never be abe to fly”


Then a crow came down from the sky and landed on her. “Why do you look so down crane?” the crow asked.


“My name is Gloria, not crane. And I’m sad because I can’t fly like you” Gloria said.


“Oh well sure you can. You just have to find new feathers. You can’t use leaves. Wings don’t work like that” the crow told her.


“Feathers? You’re right! Thank you!” Gloria said. She ran back to the village where she lived.


Gloria’s feather donation box

Gloria asked everyone she knew for two of their feathers until she had enough.


Then she put them on the same stick and tied it to her wing and went up to the hill again.


“Here I go� Glora said nervously. Then she ran off the hill stretched her wings and...


... she flew!


Cranes like Gloria and her family who can’t fly exist everyday in Rwanda. But now they are learning to fly again thanks to the hardwork and dedication of Dr. Olivier Nsengimana and the Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association. They rehabilitate these cranes and monitor their behavior until the birds are able to fly away. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Nsengimana and his team, please visit rwandawildlife.org.


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