Once extinct in Louisiana, LDWF adds 10 more whooping cranes to its growing experimental population

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Juvenile whooping cranes released in the White Lakes Wetland Conservation Area.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) recently added 10 whooping cranes to its experimental population, the most since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

Six juvenile cranes, hatched and reared at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans, part of the Audubon Nature Institute, along with four chicks from the International Crane Foundation (ICF) were received at the White LDWF’s Lake Wetlands Conservation Area (WLWCA). ) near Gueydan on 3 November.

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

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, the 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 donated volunteer hours.

“The arrival and eventual release of these 10 chicks into our population, on top of what has already been a banner year for our whooping crane program, is another positive step forward for the people of Louisiana and the species,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. . “We thank our partners who helped make this reintroduction process a success and we look forward to working with them in the years to come. »

With the release of the newcomers to the wild, Louisiana’s population will be 87 cranes. They had disappeared from the state by the 1950s and from much of the world.

The Louisiana flock began in 2011 when 10 whooping cranes from the US Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland were released into White Lake WCA to expand the non-migratory flock. This marked a 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 facial markings. The birds stand five feet tall and have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet which makes them very distinctive. In flight, Whooping Cranes exhibit black wingtips 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 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lawhoopingcranes/.

Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity involving whooping cranes is encouraged to call the LDWF Law Enforcement Division 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 to 847411 or download the free “LADWF Tips” iPhone app from Apple’s iTunes Store.

Citizen Observer, the tip411 provider, uses technology that strips all identifying information before LDWF receives the text so that LDWF cannot identify the sender.

For photos, videos and interviews about the release, go to https://ldwf.canto.com/v/2022WhoopingCraneArrival/.

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