In this Feb. 24, 2011 photo released by Kushiro Zoo, a female red-crown crane called "Kika" is pictured in Kushiro on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. A Japanese nature reserve will send a pair of the endangered red-crown cranes named "Big" and "Kika" to Taiwan on Wednesday in a gesture of friendship. (AP Photo/Kushiro Zoo)
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A Japanese nature reserve is sending a pair of endangered red-crown cranes to Taiwan in a gesture of friendship.
The Taipei Zoo says the cranes will arrive Wednesday. The zoo plans to display the birds at an enclosure featuring plants and a pond to simulate the swamps that constitute their natural habitat.
Taipei Zoo spokesman Chao Ming-chieh said Tuesday that Japan is sending the birds to thank Taiwan for the relief efforts it mounted after March's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Japan has about 900 red-crown cranes, more than any other country. The birds are native to northeast Asia but were hunted to near extinction for their feathers.
Cranes are considered a symbol of longevity and represent good luck in both China and Japan.