Lafayette, La - (Ammoland.com)– The foremost crane experts in North America heard encouraging news for Louisiana’s experimental whooping crane population when news of eggs produced by a mating pair was announced at the 13th North American Crane Workshop in Lafayette, La.
“I am proud today to announce to you that our small population of whooping cranes is adjusting well to life in the wild and a mating pair has produced eggs in the wild for the first time in over 70 years on the Louisiana landscape,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Secretary Robert Barham. “Our biologist team and partners including the International Crane Foundation, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and project funding donors have all made this moment possible.”
Barham and Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne welcomed the workshop group on Tuesday morning at Hotel Acadiana.
“Thanks to the completion of our state birding guide—published through my office in partnership with the American Birding Association and the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area — Louisiana has become a strong competitor for birding-related tourism,” said Dardenne. “Similarly, conservation efforts such as the reintroduction of the whooping crane to Louisiana since 2011 are positive steps toward ecotourism in our state.”
The state whooping crane reintroduction project began with the release of an initial cohort of juvenile cranes in 2011 at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish. The single nest with eggs, on the northern end of the Cajun prairie, remains under observation by project biologists.
Including subsequent cohorts, 50 whooping cranes have been released in Louisiana. Thirty of those birds have survived. Some have been lost to predators, some to naturally occurring health problems, and five in total have been confirmed as killed or wounded in shooting incidents.
The North American Crane Working Group, meeting this week in southwest Louisiana, is being briefed on Louisiana’s whooping crane reintroduction, the wild Aransas/Wood Buffalo whooping crane flock, the technology utilized in crane research and challenges to crane survival.