DescriptionChinese cranes were believed to be extinct in the early 20th century, until some 20 were discovered in 1924 in this now-protected area of the Kushiro Swamp in eastern Hokkaido. Local feeding programs help cranes survive the harsh winters. The number of cranes hibernating in Japan has now risen to 900. The crane, also called red crowned crane, is known as the ballerina of Japan. At certain times of the year they perform their dance as accomplished ballerinas, bending and jumping up, accompanied by their typical shrill and loud screams. The cold, strong wind picks them up, their legs dangling 1 meter or more from the ground before they land gracefully. Observing the Chinese cranes dancing in the snowfields of Hokkaido is the ultimate for many photographers.