A pair of teenagers shot two of the 10 whooping cranes released in Louisiana, hampering an attempt to establish a third population of the endangered bird, says an article in the Montreal Gazette.
The article gives the details of the whooping crane recovery program, which spans the United States and Canada, with an emphasis on Canadian contributions. It includes the fact that there were just 22 whooping cranes in 1941. The population has now rebounded to about 400 of the cranes in the wild.
The article says that state wildlife officials had created an education campaign before this fall’s goose and duck hunting season in an attempt to prevent hunters accidentally shooting the whooping cranes. The article doesn’t mention what the teenagers’ motives were.
Whopping cranes had a happier visit to Missouri last week. A hunter, believing he heard someone in distress, investigated and found instead a pair of migrating whooping cranes. The cranes stayed in the agricultural field long enough for a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staffer to arrive on the scene and confirm the sighting. Local bird-watchers were able to get a glimpse of the radio-tagged adult-and-juvenile pair too.
Photo: Whooping cranes. Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation