Prince Charles takes injured bird under his wing in Rwanda

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Prince Charles watches on as a grey crested crane struts around at the Umusambi Village wildlife park in Kigali, Rwanda - Ian Vogler/Getty Images
Prince Charles watches on as a grey crested crane struts around at the Umusambi Village wildlife park in Kigali, Rwanda - Ian Vogler/Getty Images

The Prince of Wales has adopted an injured crane in Rwanda that lost the ability to fly.

The Prince, 73, on Thursday visited Kigali’s “first and only” wildlife sanctuary, Umusambi Village, which is home to more than 50 of the endangered crane species.

Following a tour of the wetlands and a butterfly sanctuary, the Prince met a crane called Metusi, which means “Spoilt”.

The bird was named because it has been so well treated that it prefers the company of humans to its feathered friends.

Olivier Nsengimana, founder and executive of Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association, presented Charles with an adoption certificate for the bird, telling the Prince: “From now on, she is yours.”

Clearly delighted, the Prince replied: “Oh. You must keep me informed.’

As the bird walked around in front of him, he added: “She’s giving us a jolly good look.”

Prince Charles observes a grey crested crane during his visit to Umusambi Village, Rwanda on Thursday, June 23 - Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Prince Charles observes a grey crested crane during his visit to Umusambi Village, Rwanda on Thursday, June 23 - Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Mr Nsengimana revealed that the bird was disabled after being mistreated by a previous owner, who kicked it.

Metusi is one of 50 endangered, disabled cranes rescued from gardens where they were kept as pets - part of Rwanda’s illegal wildlife trade.

The Prince later planted an indigenous tree. After digging the soil, he touched the sapling’s trunk and said, as he always does: “Good luck, tree. It’s very important to wish it good luck.”

A plaque was placed to mark the planting of the Cordia Africana tree, commonly known as a large-leaved cordia or East African cordia.

The tree has multiple uses, but it is traditionally used to make canoes, drums, beehives, grain mortars, water containers, utensils and tool handles.

Local folklore links the tree to ancient kings of Rwanda, as materials from the tree were used to make the kings’ drums.

The Prince was also shown a butterfly sanctuary, where his guide Mr Nsengimana pointed to two butterflies, explaining: “They are mating," to which the Prince replied: "Then we had better leave them to it!”

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