Whooping Crane picture courtesy of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Two pairs of endangered whooping cranes have been discovered breeding in Texas for the first time in recent history. The whooping cranes, which were introduced to Louisiana as part of a non-migratory population, are now located on private property in Jefferson and Chambers counties.
More about Whooping Cranes
Whooping cranes are one of North America’s most endangered species. Cranes have been known to live in the wild for more than 30 years. Adults attain reproductive age about the age of four or five years, lay two eggs, and normally only raise one chick during the breeding season.
Details of the reintroduction program
The newcomers are part of a reintroduction program that started in 2011 with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). At the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in southwest Louisiana, this designated non-essential population was introduced into previously inhabited wetland environments. The new population of about 73 birds has nested and swam since then.
“We appreciate the cooperation and assistance of our Texas partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and especially the private landowners whose properties are supporting the survival of the Louisiana cranes,” LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet said. “Of course wildlife does not respect state boundaries, so our Louisiana cranes sought out suitable habitats in southeast Texas to establish territories and nests.”
The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service recently completed an agreement that provides private landowners in southeast Texas with similar regulatory safeguards as landowners hosting whooping cranes in Louisiana, as well as technical assistance to prepare conservation actions that improve wetland environments for a number of wildlife species.
Can you go see them?
Not really. The public is reminded to keep a safe distance from the birds and not to observe them on private property.
“Because these birds are especially vulnerable to human interference when nesting, please keep at least 1,000 feet away when viewing whooping cranes,” said Wade Harrell, USFWS Whooping Crane Coordinator. “Birds will have a chance to huddle together as a result of this.”
More Information About The Reintroduction Program
More information about the whooping crane reintroduction effort can be found on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/subhome/whooping-crane.
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