Durban - World Wetland Day on Sunday marks the highest rate of wattled crane breeding in 20 years.

The cranes are dependent on wetlands for their survival and about 85 percent of them are found on private farms.

“South Africa’s wattled crane population is finally stable and showing a slight increase in KwaZulu-Natal,” said Tanya Smith, senior field officer at the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s African Crane Conservation Programme.

She said KZN is home to 90 percent of the population. Last year, a survey showed the highest count of wattled cranes in 20 years. Each year, the crane aerial survey completes 25 hours of flying and covers about 20 000km2 over five days.