FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2001
On Monday, October 15, a small flock of experimental whooping cranes will depart Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin on the longest ultralight-led migration with an endangered species in history. Three ultralight aircraft will lead the birds along a new migration route to Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, a journey of nearly 1,200 miles through seven states. After wintering in Florida, the cranes are expected to return to Wisconsin on their own next spring. If successful, migrating whooping cranes will be restored to eastern North American for the first time in over 100 years. Whooping cranes are a federally endangered species reduced to only 16 individuals in 1941. Today's wild and captive population nears 400, but the birds still face threats from cell phone towers, power lines, oil spills, drought and disease.
Media will have an opportunity to see the whooping cranes depart behind ultralight aircraft.
When: Monday, October 15, 2001
The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership and US Fish and Wildlife Service will host a press conference with the migration team after the morning flight.
Press kits and b-roll will be available at the press conference and from these Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership contacts, north to south:
Operation Migration Inc., Blackstock Ontario, Canada, Heather Ray, 1-800-675-2618Daily updates, press kits, audio clips, photographs and links to other Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership sites are available at www.bringbackthecranes.org. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center on the Whooping Crane
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