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  • WCEP: Endangered Cranes Returned to Wisconsin
    in close cooperation with field staff from South Dakota Game Fish and Parks as well as the landowners on whose property the cranes had taken up residence Wandering is normal for yearling whooping cranes however biologists don t want reintroduced eastern cranes to travel too far West where they might mix with the only other naturally occurring migratory flock of whooping cranes which migrates between Canada s Wood Buffalo National Park and Aransas NWR on the Texas Gulf Coast Biologists did not initially retrieve the three young cranes after they were discovered in South Dakota because they wanted to learn whether the birds would return on their own to Wisconsin prior to fall migration A mutual decision to retrieve the birds was made after they moved farther west increasing the potential for them to mix with the Wood Buffalo Aransas birds or with the midcontentent population of sandhill cranes that migrate through central and eastern South Dakota Biologists felt that though mixing between the two flocks of birds was unlikely the three young cranes were too valuable to the reintroduction of an eastern migratory population to take a chance on mixing South Dakota GFP s Division of Wildlife agreed to step in to facilitate the capture South Dakota has been pleased to host these whoopers for the past few months but it s time for them to return to where they need to be to continue the historical effort to successfully reintroduce these birds in the eastern U S said George Vandel assistant director of the Division of Wildlife for South Dakota Game Fish and Parks The Fish and Wildlife Service appreciates the hospitality of the state of South Dakota in hosting these birds for the past few months said John Christian assistant regional director for Migratory Birds and State

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2003/nr-082003.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Third Flock of Whooping Crane Chicks Arrives at Necedah
    and the U S Geological Survey s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center will spend the summer conditioning the chicks to fly behind ultralight aircraft This fall the team will guide the young cranes on their first southern migration leading them by ultralight over Illinois Indiana Kentucky Tennessee and Georgia before arriving at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge on Florida s Gulf coast the cranes winter home They will be the third group of juvenile whooping cranes to take part in a project designed to reintroduce a migratory flock of whooping cranes to a portion of their former range in eastern North America Whooping cranes are among the most endangered birds in North America The chicks were flown to Necedah from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel Md where they hatched While the reintroduction project this year will take place with up to 18 cranes only the 10 oldest crane chicks arrived Thursday The remaining cranes will be transported later this month to Necedah one of 540 national wildlife refuges managed by the U S Fish and Wildlife Service At Patuxent the whooping cranes are introduced to ultralight aircraft and raised in isolation from humans To ensure the birds remain wild project biologists and pilots adhere to a no talking rule play recorded crane calls and wear costumes designed to mask the human form whenever they are around the cranes Biologists from the International Crane Foundation and the U S Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor the cranes over the winter and track them next spring during their return migration which they will undertake unaided by ultralight aircraft All but two of the 21 cranes from the 2001 and 2002 flocks returned to Wisconsin on their own this spring One crane had to be flown by aircraft from Ohio back to Necedah

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2003/nr-062003.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: First "Class of 2002" Endangered Whooping Cranes Reach Wisconsin
    currently in a wetland approximately 70 miles southeast of the Necedah area Two remaining 2002 birds 9 and 14 are currently still migrating Crane 14 was last seen in central Illinois while 9 was last observed foraging in a flooded cornfield in North Carolina east of the anticipated migration route A male whooping crane 6 from the Class of 01 was the first of his cohort to reach Wisconsin after migrating north unassisted for the second time Number 6 returned on March 25 to Dodge County Wisconsin and has since joined his former flock mates cranes 1 and 2 at Necedah after they returned to the refuge on April 1 The female 7 also from the 2001 flock was located yesterday in east central Wisconsin where she was observed foraging with a large group of her non endangered sandhill crane cousins The Class of 2002 was the second whooping crane flock to be led by the Operation Migration team with ultralight aircraft on a 1 200 mile journey in an effort to return this most endangered crane to eastern North America They arrived at Chassahowitzka NWR on November 30 2002 after a 49 day southward migration After becoming the first group of whooping cranes successfully led on a migration by ultralight aircraft in the fall of 2001 the Class of 2001 cranes became the first whooping cranes to fly freely over the eastern half of North America after the species was reduced to only fifteen individuals and nearly wiped out The five cranes from 2001 made their first solo journey south returning to Florida last fall as the new generation was making the trip with the aircraft The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership WCEP is a consortium of non profit organizations and government agencies working together to return migratory whooping cranes

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2003/nr-041503.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Nov. 30, 2002 News Release
    the International Crane Foundation In 2001 seven of the eight whooping cranes that began the pilot fall migration made it to Florida safely Five of these seven birds survived the winter and made an unassisted successful spring migration back to Wisconsin Four of the five reached Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida The last crane is heading south and was last seen at the Hiwassee National Wildlife Refuge in Meigs County Tennessee We re part of the whole team and were proud of the bunch said Joe Duff Team Leader and co founder of Operation Migration What I m most amazed at is the resiliency of these birds that have shown such tenacity We flew today with more birds than even existed in the early forties That s a comeback that has to keep going The reintroduction is part of an ongoing recovery effort for the highly imperiled species which was on the verge of extinction in the 1940s and even today numbers only about 260 birds in the wild Except for the Wisconsin Florida birds now migrating the continent s only other migratory population of whooping cranes winters at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast A non migrating flock of about 100 cranes remain year round in central Florida as part of an ongoing reintroduction study led by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission This reintroduction would not only restore the whooper to part of its historic range but also provide another geographically distinct migratory population that could lead to downlisting and eventual recovery Major improvements made to habitat from last year Volunteers contractors and Federal Employees and at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge been busy since the class of 2001 migrated north in April of 2002 Since last year expanded their protective pen from 1 1 2 to 4 acres and created a unique habitat just for the whooping cranes We built up an existing oyster reef for night roosting in the water with 90 tons of natural shell using 300 helicopter loads said Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge manager Jim Kraus We ve already spotted whooping crane tracks on the reef which has already silted in by the tides Kraus went on to say the Service also enhanced their wintering habitat with prescribed burns to open up space on their salt marsh islands making it more crane friendly They also enlarged and elevated the observation blind for biologists as they have larger area to view this year I would say this is a tribute to those who helped create this refuge in the forties said Kraus I bet they had no idea this coastal salt marsh refuge would play such a valuable role in whooping crane recovery In 1998 an international coalition of state and federal governments and non profit organizations formed the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership WCEP to spearhead the recovery initiative for the whooping crane a federally listed endangered species More than 35 private landowners have volunteered their property as stopover sites for

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2002/nr-113002.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: “Lucky Number Seven”
    With the arrival of Lucky No 7 and the 20 others currently in route the outlook for achieving the project goal is looking brighter and brighter says Ondler It s outstanding With only about 400 cranes left in the world the Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project seeks to re establish a second population of migrating whooping cranes in North America Currently there are two populations of whooping cranes a migratory population which winters in and around the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas and migrates to Canada s Wood Buffalo National Park in the spring and a non migrating population that resides on the Kissimmee Prairie in Florida As one or both of these fragile populations could be wiped out by disease natural disaster or a human caused catastrophe like an oil spill the Whooping Crane Recovery Plan drafted in 1994 charts a course for saving these birds from extinction by establishing a second migratory population of wild whooping cranes with a minimum of 25 nesting pairs The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership was established in 1998 and given the task of establishing a second migratory population of whooping cranes Composed of public agencies such as the U S Fish and Wildlife Service and private non profit organizations such as the International Crane Foundation and Operation Migration Inc which flies the ultra lights The Partnership has worked long and hard to plan organize and initiate the Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project The return of this whooping crane represents a milestone for this project as it is the first whooping crane to make the return trip to Florida on its own said Sam D Hamilton Southeast Regional Director It is a really positive sign and a true complement to the folks from Operation Migration International Crane Foundation and all the private landowners state governments

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2002/nr-112202.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: First Leg of Migration Proves Challenging
    surprise to members of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership s migration team when challenges arose during today s flight The lift off from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin at 7 55 a m Central went beautifully but halfway into this morning s anticipated 39 minute flight winds shifted to the west providing a challenge for the young whooping cranes and their surrogate guides the ultralight pilots which resulted in only seven of the 17 juvenile birds completing the 21 6 mile leg to the first stopover in south Juneau County Of the ten errant cranes one returned to the training site at the refuge shortly after take off and the remaining nine broke up into three smaller groups landing at a variety of locations Unstable wind conditions caused a bird to come into contact with the wing of the lead aircraft and Operation Migration pilot Joe Duff fearing the bird may have sustained injuries landed at the first available opportunity Crane 10 was transported to the International Crane Foundation where it is receiving treatment from ICF veterinarian Dr Barry Hartup Hartup says while the injuries do not appear to be life threatening they will require more treatment

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2002/upd10-13-02.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP: Second Whooping Crane Flock Heads to Florida
    conditioned to follow the ultralights began the migration Seven whoopers made it to Florida safely and five successfully made the unassisted return migration back to central Wisconsin this past spring One bird was lost on migration due to impact with a power line when it escaped its pen enclosure during a storm and two others were lost to bobcat predation during the winter Both power lines and predation are key threats to all whooping cranes The Class of 2001 project whoopers have spent much of their time this summer on or near the Necedah and Horicon National Wildlife Refuges Project staff from the International Crane Foundation and the U S Fish and Wildlife Service will track these birds in an effort to learn as much as possible about their unassisted southern migration and the habitat choices they make along the way Whooping cranes were on the verge of extinction in the 1940s Today there are still only about 260 birds in the wild Except for the five Wisconsin Florida birds the only other migrating population of whooping cranes nests at the Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and winter at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast A non migrating flock of approximately 100 birds live year round in Florida Since whooping cranes are vulnerable to extreme weather disease and catastrophes such as oil spills scientists and conservationists are anxious to establish additional flocks to guard against the impacts such threats might have on the whooping crane s future Wisconsin to Florida is part of the historic range of the whooping cranes and this additional migrating flock would be a significant step toward the eventual recovery of the species According to Joe Duff lead ultralight pilot and trainer of the birds and co founder of Operation Migration Inc a Partnership member many groups can share the credit for the success this reintroduction effort has experienced thus far Private landowners corporations making donations and the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership have come together to form a strong and determined alliance for the cranes Duff said With such support we are giving the birds their best chance of recovery Reintroduction of any species also requires the support and coordination of numerous state and local government agencies These species form an important part of each state s natural heritage Wisconsin is thrilled to be such an important part of this exciting project to restore our State and Nation s wildlife heritage said Beth Goodman Wisconsin Whooping Crane Reintroduction coordinator Whooping cranes named for their loud and penetrating unison calls live and breed in wetland areas where they feed on crabs clams frogs and aquatic plants A whooping crane is a distinctive animal standing 5 feet tall with a white body black wing tips and a red crest on its head Historically at their peak only about 1 400 whooping cranes lived in North America Unregulated hunting and habitat destruction caused the population to plummet to a low

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2002/nr-101302.html (2016-05-02)
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  • WCEP News Advisory: Final Group
    been reared at the Patuxent WRC since hatching from eggs collected from captive whooping cranes at that facility as well as from the International Crane Foundation ICF in Baraboo WI Exposed to aircraft noise since prior to hatching and raised in extreme isolation from humans the chicks specialized training will continue under the direction of pilots and handlers from project partner Operation Migration at the refuge throughout the summer and early autumn This fall the juvenile cranes will migrate guided by ultralight aircraft approximately 1 230 miles to the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge on Florida s central west coast where they will spend the winter in a remote salt marsh area of the refuge Biologists from ICF and the U S Fish and Wildlife Service will observe the cranes over the winter track them as they initiate their return migration north next spring and together with biologists from Necedah NWR and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources monitor the birds during their summer stay in central Wisconsin The five endangered whooping cranes from the 2001 ultralight led migration arrived in Wisconsin in April following a nine day unassisted northern migration This historic journey marked the first time in more than a century that Whooping cranes had migrated over the skies of eastern North America The recovery plan for the endangered whooping crane requires that a second flock of migratory birds be established in the eastern half of North America The only naturally occurring flock of migratory whooping cranes makes its annual trip between the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in south Texas and Wood Buffalo National Park Alberta Canada A non migratory flock whooping cranes is being established in central Florida under the coordination of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission This flock successfully fledged its first whooping crane chick born

    Original URL path: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/newsroom/2002/na-6-27-02.html (2016-05-02)
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