LDWF adds three juvenile whooping cranes to its experimental population


Two new juvenile whooping cranes at White Lake WCA.

Juvenile Whooping Crane released at White Lake WCA.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) last week added three whooping cranes to its experimental population as it seeks to reestablish the whooping crane population in the state.

On Wednesday November 10, four juvenile cranes, hatched and reared at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans, part of the Audubon Nature Institute, were received in the White Lake Wetland Conservation Area ( WCA) of the LDWF, near Gueydan. Sadly, one of the cranes died just days after it was released.

The annual outing of juvenile cranes was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The LDWF and the Audubon Nature Institute are long-time leaders in whooping crane conservation in Louisiana and continue to expand their partnership with the goal of developing a self-sustaining whooping crane population in Louisiana.

LDWF and Audubon are committed to ensuring the long-term growth and stability of the whooping crane population. This commitment is supported by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Cameron LNG, Coypu Foundation and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.

Since 2011, Chevron has invested in the LDWF Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project. In addition to Chevron’s financial contributions, their employees also gave volunteer hours.

“We continue to see progress on our whooping crane project despite the pandemic setback,” LDWF secretary Jack Montoucet said. “The addition of three more cranes, coupled with the cranes hatched in the wild last spring, is a positive step in our business. We thank Chevron and our other corporate partners, as well as Audubon, in our efforts to restore this special bird to Louisiana. ”

With the release of newcomers to the wild, Louisiana’s current population is 73 cranes.

The Louisiana herd began in 2011 when 10 whooping cranes from the US Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland were released to White Lake WCA to develop the non-migrating herd. This marked an important conservation milestone with the first wild whooping cranes in Louisiana since 1950.

Anyone encountering a whooping crane is advised to observe the bird from a distance and report the sighting to LDWF (https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/report-a-whooping-crane-sighting -or-violation). Whooping cranes are large white birds with a red head and black markings on the face. The birds are five feet tall and have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet, which makes them very distinctive. In flight, whooping cranes feature black wing tips and a fully extended neck and legs, which extend well beyond the tail. For more information on the project, please visit the LDWF website: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/subhome/whooping-crane and the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lawhoopingcranes/.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is advised to call the Law Enforcement Division of the LDWF at 1-800-442-2511 or use the tip411 program, which may offer a cash reward for information leading to arrests or convictions. To use the tip411 program, citizens can text LADWF and tip them to 847411 or download the “LADWF Tips” iPhone application for free from the Apple iTunes Store. Citizen Observer, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all credentials before LDWF receives the text so LDWF cannot identify the sender.

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