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Biologists wearing white gowns head-to-toe walking through nets in a marsh holding whooping cranes.
Information icon Biologists tend to whooping cranes in one of the release pens at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. Photo by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers changes to protect endangered whooping cranes

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is working with many partners led by state wildlife agencies, conservation groups and zoos, to secure the whooping crane’s recovery. They were first classified as endangered in 1967. Once numbering as few as only 14 cranes, they now number about 700 that live both in the wild in the United States and Canada, and in captive facilities where they can safely breed.

Today, the Service’s Whooping Crane Recovery Team is proposing to move 14 whooping cranes that live at Kissimmee Prairie in central Florida to a larger and more robust population of cranes in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. Both crane populations are non-migratory.

The Whooping Crane Recovery Team is encouraged by the progress in the Louisiana crane population, which was established in 2011. One hundred whooping cranes have been released into southwestern Louisiana since then, and 53 survive today. The Florida crane population, however, has experienced a high rate of mortality and low reproductive success related to habitat conditions, predation, and power line strikes.

In addition to the Florida and Louisiana populations, more than 300 cranes migrate from Canada annually to their wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

The Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are working together on the proposed move.

As required by the National Environmental Policy Act, the Service has drafted an environmental assessment related to this proposal.

Public comments will be accepted until April 7, 2018 (the comment period has closed).

The public may submit comments, or requests for or more information, by any of the following methods:

  • Email: Lafayette@fws.gov. Include “Whooping Crane EA” in the subject line
  • Fax: [ATTN: Joseph Ranson], (337) 291-3139
  • U.S. Mail: 646 Cajundome Blvd, Suite 400, Lafayette, LA 70506
  • In-person drop-off, viewing, or pickup: Call (337) 291-3100 to make an appointment (necessary for view/pickup only) during regular business hours at 646 Cajundome Blvd, Suite 400, Lafayette, LA, 70506
  • In person viewing: Vermilion Parish Library, 405 E. Victor St. Abbeville, LA 70510

Contact

Phil Kloer, Public Affairs Specialist, (404) 644-7299 Joseph Ranson, Field Supervisor, (337) 291-3100 David A. Oster, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, (337) 291-3121

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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