Whooping Cranes Reintroduced in Louisiana

The last wild whooping crane residing in Louisiana was captured in 1950 and relocated to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Whooping cranes in the state had been steadily declining since 1890, when prairie was converted to mechanized agriculture. The unique birds had been living on prairie land until then, but they then gradually vanished. Eventually they diminished in wetland areas also, due to habitat loss and poaching. The last recorded time they bred in the wild on their own in the United States was 1939. The last remaining one in 1950 was taken to Texas where it could be with other wild cranes.

This month in Louisiana a new whooping crane reintroduction project will begin with a small population. “The return of whooping cranes to their home in Louisiana, after an absence of more than a half-century, salutes the values of a state that shelters some of the largest and most important wetlands on the continent,” said George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation. The new population in Louisiana will live in an enclosure at first to adapt to their surroundings, and then be released into an area protected by an electric fence. Their caretakers wear special crane suits, which prevent the birds from losing their natural fear of humans. Even in this day cranes must remain afraid of humans to keep a safe distance because once in a while someone shoots and kills them. In January a wild crane was killed in Alabama, by an unknown person.

The ICF has a captive breeding program for the critically endangered birds. They also have been involved in the effort to train young ones born in captivity to fly along their traditional migratory routes to Florida and Texas for the winter seasons. The only wild, self-sustaining population is at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada. There are about 400 wild whooping cranes in three populations left in the world, with about 150 living in captivity.

“Cooperation between the state and federal governments is key if we are to fully revitalize our coast. Restoring wildlife to the Gulf Coast is a key step towards rebuilding and preserving our treasured swamps and marshes and ensuring that they will be protected for future generations,” said a Louisiana congressional representative. (Source: dailyworld.com)

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Aud Nordby
Aud nordby2 years ago


Tim U.
Tim Upham3 years ago

George Archibald must be happy. I have followed his work with the International Crane Foundation, and he was disappointed that the last whooping crane in Louisiana were killed by a raccoon. But now they are back, and we are all happy.

carlee trent
carlee trent4 years ago

thx good news

Jose Gaspar
Jose Gaspar4 years ago


Peggy Peters
Peggy Peters4 years ago

I am so pleased!!! This is good news!!

Savannah P.
Savannah P.4 years ago

Its good to see the crane is on the rise.

heather g.
heather g.4 years ago

Seems many people have no regard for nature. Today, I was sent this info about Bye Bye Blackbird :

"It turns out that the USDA has been providing this service to farmers since the 1960s, in a program called Bye Bye Blackbird, using an avicide called DCR-1339 to kill the birds. In 2009 alone, according to the Christian Science Monitor article, USDA agents have euthanized more than 4 million red-winged blackbirds, starlings, cowbirds, and grackles."

J. C.
Jess Carson4 years ago

This is great! What a pleasure it would be to see them in the wild some time : )

Suzanne Hall
Suzanne Hall4 years ago

I hope they can increase their numbers, and remain in the wild! Operation Migration breeds them, then trains the fledglings their migration route to Florida, via light plane. Cranes follow the plane, they think it's their parents.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman4 years ago

thanx for posting