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Stanley Crane Farewelled at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 11, 2022 1:59 am

Stanley Crane Passes Smithsonian

Alice, a stanley crane is pictured in her habitat the Smithsonian's National Zoo prior to her passing following surgery recently

Photo Credit: Amanda Carberry/ Columbus Zoo and Aquairum

Keepers in the bird house at the Smithsonian's National Zoo have said goodbye to their 7 year old Stanley crane, Alice following complications in surgery. She passed on January 28th 2022.

In human care an average Stanley crane will live for 13 years. Unfortunately soon after the surgery Alice entered cardio-respiratory arrest. Staff administered anesthesia-reversal medications and attempted to resuscitate Alice through oxygen support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Unfortunately these efforts were unsuccessful and she could not be revived. A pathology report will provide more information on her passing in coming weeks.

Alice was undergoing surgery to try and correct a limb deformity. Last autumn keepers noted that Alice was favoring or not placing weight on her left leg. The leg had been splayed since her birth.

She underwent her first surgery in August 2019 when she became the first Stanley crane to undergo internal brace ligament augmentation. During that procedure, surgeons placed an internal brace suture tape inside the joint to create an artificial lateral ligament. Following the procedure, Alice walked with a slight limp, but continued to bear weight on her leg until October 2021.

Recently a CT scan revealed an angular limb deformity. Care staff elected to undertake a surgery to ease pressure on her hock joint.

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Alice was a surprise addition to the bird house in 2014. Her parents were devoting all their efforts to their first chick which had hatched and keepers assumed their second egg was infertile.

During efforts to remove the egg from the nest they heard sounds from inside and discovered Alice. Keepers chose to raise Alice themselves due to the low success rate among cranes in raising two chicks. She imprinted on people and appeared to enjoy interacting with them.

Due to being hand-reared Alice was not suited to breeding but acted as an ambassador for her species. She also was a medical pioneer. Along with her world first surgery she participated in a non-invasive study on stress levels during demonstrations. This allowed researchers to determine that Alice was not stressed during demonstrations.

“Alice expressed her happiness and joy every day of her life, and in doing so gave those that had the great privilege to care for her an unforgettable experience,” said Heather Anderson, Alice’s primary keeper at the Bird House. “Everyone who knew her loved her.”

Recently Alice had been off display as the Smithsonian's National Zoo undertake renovations on the 1928 Bird House. When it reopens in fall 2022 it will be the  first zoo exhibition of this size that focuses on the cyclical journeys of migratory songbirds, waterfowl and shorebirds integral to North, Central and South American ecosystems.

Learn more about Birds here – Bird Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Smithsonian's National Zoo on their website – Smithsonian's National Zoo

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