The endangered whooping crane made a huge step towards recovery this week, as biologists reintroduced ten captive-bred birds to the southwest marshes of Louisiana. Guided to their new wetland homes by their crane “parents” (biologists dressed in crane costumes), these whoopers literally took their first steps towards becoming a viable wild population. The state, which has not seen a whooping crane since 1950, will now host an annually growing population of these cranes at its White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.
The whooping crane stands at nearly five feet tall, with a wingspan of up to seven feet. These magnificent birds used to range as far as the Arctic coast (breeding grounds) to central Mexico (wintering areas). But by the mid 19th century, whooper numbers began plummeting as they lost their homes to development and agriculture or their lives to hunters. By 1967, the whooping crane was declared an endangered species, and captive breeding programs were created to prevent complete extinction.
At White Lake, where humans once caused their disappearance, humans now can work to bring the whooping crane back to its rightful place.
Defenders has been actively involved in the process to bring whoopers back to Louisiana. Last fall, we submitted more than 23,000 comments from our supporters to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and also sent local activists to meetings to support reintroduction.
Defenders in Action
Defenders has been actively involved in the process to bring whoopers back to Louisiana. Last fall, we submitted more than 23,000 comments from our supporters to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and also sent local activists to meetings to support reintroduction. We emphasized the need to minimize conflict between the cranes and nearby landowners and protect cranes from any other wildlife management activities. Fortunately, our concerns were addressed, and our recommendations will be used ensure a safe and successful reintroduction.
What You Can Do
Did you know? The whooping crane gets its name from its whooping call. Click here for more information about these cool cranes.