By Brynn Walling, USFWS
What a comeback!
There are now more than 600 Whooping cranes in North America.
These wonderful birds were almost wiped out, but thanks to the Endangered Species Act, their populations continue to climb – and their recovery stories continue to inspire.
In 1947, Mac was the only Whooping crane left in the entire state of Louisiana. (Photo: USFWS)
For instance, if you were near the Louisiana marshes in March 2011 you may have witnessed some amazing history in the making. Whooping Cranes were freely flying overhead for the first time in 60 years! Conservation efforts paid off and 10 “whoopers” that were raised in captivity were set free to fly the Louisiana Marshes. (Watch it here!)
At one time, the whooping crane population soared between 15,000 – 20,000 birds and their habitats ranged from Central Canada to Mexico and from Utah to the Atlantic coast.
But the birds began to vanish due to the transformation of wetlands and grasslands. Unregulated hunting and specimen collection negatively impacted the population, as well.