News Release
Southeast Region


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Tenth Group of Endangered Whooping Cranes on Ultralight-Guided Flight to Florida Flies into Tennessee

November 26, 2010

Liz Condie, 608-542-0829
Tom MacKenzie, USFWS Southeast, 404-679-7291
Ashley Spratt, USFWS Midwest, 612-247-2976



A white whooping crane contrasts starkly with a blue-gray background

Whooping crane at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWS. Download from our Digital Library.

Eleven young whooping cranes have completed almost half of their migration from Wisconsin to Florida. Ten cranes skipped the second stopover site in Kentucky, flying 116 miles today, landing in Carroll County, Tenn. Handlers decided to pack up Crane #2-10 in a carrier and transport him in a truck this leg of the trip.

Only six to seven months old, the cranes have now traveled 579 miles and have another 706 to go.

This is the 10th group of birds to take part in a landmark project led by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, an international coalition of public and private groups that is reintroducing this highly imperiled species in eastern North America. There are now about 96 whooping cranes in the wild in eastern North America thanks to their efforts.

“We are proud to be part of this effort to bring this magnificent bird species back from the brink of extinction,” said Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This is another example of people working together to help overcome monumental challenges that many species face surviving in a landscape greatly altered by mankind.”

Three ultralight aircraft and the juvenile cranes are traveling through Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia to reach the birds’ wintering habitats at Chassahowitzka and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuges along Florida's Gulf Coast.

“Safeguarding an endangered species does not come with guarantees,” said Joe Duff, senior ultralight pilot and CEO of Operation Migration. “This is more than simply an experiment in wildlife reintroduction; it is a struggle against all odds.”


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2010 News Releases.

Last updated: December 1, 2010