International Whooping Crane Recovery Plan


The Aransas-Wood Buffalo Population is the only remaining wild population of whooping cranes. This population breeds at the Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada and winters at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, where management priorities are geared toward protection of this species.

Many of the management actions of the refuge are guided by the International Whooping Crane Recovery Plan (the Plan), which describes and proposes actions needed to ensure the recovery of this iconic bird. It is an excellent example of international cooperation to save a species.

The development of the Plan is a joint effort of a Canada-United States Recovery Team, which is appropriate since the recovery of the whooping crane is dependent upon conservation and management efforts in both countries. The recovery team consists of five representatives from each country and team members are appointed by the Canadian Wildlife Service and its corresponding agency in the United States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The first Plan was published in 1986 and its purpose was to chart a course to ensure whooping cranes did not become extinct. The recovery plan goal is to protect the whooping crane and its habitat and allow the overall population to grow so that it is ecologically and genetically stable. Since the first Plan was completed, the international team of biologists has revised it on three different occasions.

Download the International Whooping Crane Recovery Plan here.