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Author Topic: Whooping Crane Reintroduction to Louisiana  (Read 6800 times)
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Jwnix
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« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2011, 04:50:35 PM »

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Two Whooping Cranes Found Dead in Jefferson Davis Parish
October 13th, 2011

Two Suspects Apprehended in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has identified two juveniles for their alleged role in the illegal shooting of two whooping cranes found dead in Jefferson Davis Parish on Oct. 10.

According to an eyewitness account, two boys stopped on Lyons Road in between Mouton and Guidry roads south of Jennings at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 9. The eyewitness said they shot from their truck and killed two whooping cranes.

Agents and biologists were notified Oct. 10, and retrieved the dead birds, part of the agency’s whooping crane reintroduction program. Agents were able to locate the suspected juveniles Monday night based on information from the eyewitness account, according to a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Losing two cranes, especially in such a thoughtless manner, is a huge setback in the department’s efforts to re-establish a whooping crane population in Louisiana,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham. “We take this careless crime very seriously.”


The agency received 10 whooping cranes in February of this year from the U.S. Geological Survey Research Facility in Laurel, Md., and placed them in the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. This re-introduced population, which will be annually supplemented with future cohorts, marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

The agency is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to the state. This non-migratory flock of whooping cranes is designated as a non-essential, experimental population and is protected under state law and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“This is a profound setback to the many people and organizations who have worked so hard to bring this magnificent bird back to Louisiana,” said Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Whooping cranes, the most endangered of all of the world’s crane species, were first added to the federal status of an endangered species on March 11, 1967. The reintroduction at White Lake WCA is part of an ongoing recovery effort coordinated by the USFWS.

Historically, both a resident and migratory population of whooping cranes were present in Louisiana through the early 1940s. Whooping cranes inhabited the marshes and ridges of the state’s southwest Chenier Coastal Plain, as well as the uplands of prairie terrace habitat to the north. Within this area, whooping cranes used three major habitats: tall grass prairie, freshwater marsh, and brackish/salt marsh.

The Louisiana crane population was not able to withstand the pressure of human encroachment, primarily the conversion of nesting habitat to agricultural acreage, as well as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North America. The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary in 1950.

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates between Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

Like those in the eastern migratory population, it remains vulnerable to extinction from continued loss of habitat or natural or man-made catastrophes. Multiple efforts are underway to reduce this risk and bring this bird further along its path to recovery. This includes increasing populations in the wild, ongoing efforts to establish a migratory population in the eastern United States, and establishing a resident population in Louisiana.

There are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, only 400 in the wild. About 100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population. For the 11th time in as many years, ultralight-led captive reared whooping cranes are learning their migration route to wintering sites in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Ten young whooping cranes began their journey on Oct. 9, 2011.

For more information contact Adam Einck at aeinck@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-2465, or Bo Boehringer at bboehringer@wlf.la.gov or 225-765-5115.
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Josephine
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« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2011, 06:51:27 PM »

Thanks for posting about the apprehension of the juveniles that shot the two young cranes, Josephine. The history of this area and the efforts to return the whooping cranes is also good to have and think about again.  I am glad you have the connections to this area which enrich your reports to us here.  It is also good ro remember all the pieces of the over-all North American efforts to return the cranes to viability and increased numbers.  I will always be glad to read whatever you post here.

You mentioned problems with posting pictures here.  Is there a way I could help you with that?  For instance, could you email me pictures you'd like posted and then I could post them for you?   
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Sherri
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« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2011, 04:31:51 AM »

Thanks Josephine 
Good to have the record here on this thread so that it is easily located for reference rather than having to search through
pages of posts.
I'm curious as to where someone on chat saw that the juveniles were 13 and 16 as it doesn't seem to appear in articles.

Just a side thought........perhaps you could post the "Josephine and Crip" article that you sent me on this thread.  It would be a
good foundation story for the LA cranes.
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Jwnix
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« Reply #33 on: October 15, 2011, 11:14:45 AM »

As I said on the other thread, if there is an interest for more info on our cranes , I am willing to provide it.  And here is link to our Wildlife departments section on Whooping Cranes where there are videos/pictures/ and historical information . There was to be a blog that would be updated regularly, but sadly the authorities put the brakes on that project.  It has been a source of frustration and disappointment to me that LDWF has NOT been more open about this fabulous re-introduction .
 
http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes

Here is news release (45 years ago) about Josephine and Crip.....among the last Whoopers in LA

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT of the INTERIOR
********************newsrelease
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife Edelsberg - 343-5634
For Release to PM's January 6, 1966
WHOOPER JOSEPHINE DIED OF HEART FAILURE, AUTOPSY SHOWS
Josephine, 28-year-old matriarch of the whooping crane flock at
the Audubon Park Zoo, New Orleans, La., died last September of acute
heart failure caused by advanced age and possible stresses brought on
by Hurricane Betsy, an autopsy has revealed. The autopsy and extensive
studies were conducted at the Department of the Interior's Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and the Armed Forces Institute
of Pathology in Washington, D. C.
The elderly crane was the mother of four of the six whoopers at
the zoo, the only existing flock outside the wild population of 44 now
wintering at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, Audubon
Park Zoo is the only place where whoopers have been hatched and reared
in captivity.
Josephine was the pride of conservationists throughout the United
States who were concerned with the declining population of wild whoopers
and saw in propagation of captive birds a possible way to bolster the
wild population. Birds reared in captivity would be trained to rejoin
their high-flying wild cousins. Today, the Fish and Wildlife Service
is studying the rearing of captive whoopers by using their near
relatives, the more common sandhill cranes.
Josephine was a storm-tossed bird. In 1940, she was one of an
estimated 13 cranes native to the Louisiana marshlands. A hurricane
scattered the flock and only two survived: Mac, who died six months
later, and Josephine, who was between two and three years old. A
little while later, she was shot and crippled by a farmer, 'who took
her to the zoo. There, with the best possible care, she was nursed
back to health.
Except for the period 1948-1951 spent at Aransas, Josephine
remained at Audubon until her death. Her first mate at the zoo was an
old bird named Pete; they produced two eggs but neither hatched. When
Pete died, he was replaced by Crip, a flightless bird who had been
"grounded" at Aransas in 1945.
Josephine and Crip produced George and Georgette in 1957, Pepper
in 1958, and Peewee in 1961. Zoo officials hope that these will have
offspring.
Can another bird fill the void?
named Rosie has been transferred from
George.
Y Y
I
Researchers hope so. A whooper
the-gan Antonio Zoo to mate with
73522
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Josephine
Jwnix
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« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2011, 11:23:03 AM »

Tom is an elder friend  who writes a birding column for a small town weekly publication and he generously shares it with me.  When his current writing didn't include something about the shootings, I wrote to ask if he'd heard about it.  Of course, I know that anyone in this state with an interest in them, has heard of these outrageous acts.  He was waiting and now has sent me the article with permission to share it..... it will be published this week.....


"WHOOPING CRANES - SHOT IN LOUISIANA"

Is this a current  subject of discussion at our Louisiana breakfast tables? If it isn't, it should be. Why?  Because it is the headline title  of an article in the New York Times, by Andrew C. Revkin,  on October 14, 2011 which describes the tragedy of  two Whooping Cranes shot in Louisiana. Whooping Cranes are  a native species of Louisiana, and the two which were shot were part of a National and State  research flock of only 10  in the entire state of Louisiana. That meager number, only 10,  was just reintroduced to the wild in Louisiana at White Lake in Vermilion Parish in February of this year according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. 

Some of this research has been going on since  our last wild Whooping Crane was seen in the wild in Louisiana during the 1940s.

As tragic as the loss of the birds is, it seems to me the greater tragedy is the obvious widespread lack of knowledge in Louisiana of the significance of the loss, perhaps, of  the most magnificent native  bird ever to inhabit Louisiana. These cranes are over four feet in length and have wingspans of up to seven feet. Allegedly, shot by two teenagers? Clearly, they did not know better! That ignorance is the real tragedy. Only five, and maybe only four, of the total of 10, Louisiana Whooping Cranes survive.  That is, after only ten months. Can you believe that the two teenagers  had never heard of Whooping Cranes and didn't know what they were? No doubt the case?

I am pained by the loss of more of our small flock of WHOOPING CRANES. But, I am pained more to observe the lack of respect for the need for more knowledge about the entire world  around us, including the world of nature.

Education is so basic that we should even be willing to sacrifice an occasional meal from our abundance in order to provide more funding for it.
That education should include the kind of subject matter that would have made the teenagers, ages 16 and 13, who are alleged to have done the shootings, aware of the tragedy this act would constitute before they committed it. Hopefully our science teachers will pick up this subject and  call it to the attention of their high school students.

Richard Burgess, of the Acadiana Bureau of the Morning Advocate, reported on this Whooping Crane shooting which occurred in Jefferson Davis Parish. His article appeared in   the Morning Advocate on October 14..

The Morning Advocate is available on line. You may read of this event on your computer.

Further, you may simply type "Whooping Cranes Shot In Louisiana" into your search engine and read the article by Mr. Revkin in the New York Times.

How can we not be angry!

Shall we not be resolved to become more responsible citizens? 

If we do, Louisiana might look better and hopefully our Whooping Crane population will grow.

Good birding y'all.
                              
If you see a rare bird or unusual bird behavior, call me, Tom Sylvest, at <edited>, so we can share it.


Thomas Sylvest
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Josephine
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« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2011, 03:30:10 PM »

Thanks for all that information, Josephine bigsmile, very helpful and informative, and I really appreciate all your efforts here.

  
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Jwnix
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« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2011, 05:32:20 PM »

Thanks for posting about the apprehension of the juveniles that shot the two young cranes, Josephine. The history of this area and the efforts to return the whooping cranes is also good to have and think about again.  I am glad you have the connections to this area which enrich your reports to us here.  It is also good ro remember all the pieces of the over-all North American efforts to return the cranes to viability and increased numbers.  I will always be glad to read whatever you post here.

It certainly is a life lesson in conservation and that if we don't do something , we will lose more species.  Part of the premise for the reintroduction is to spread out the cohorts of cranes. imagine what would happen should a hurricane dessimate Aransas flock..... or the 2 florida flocks.  Having one in Louisiana makes sense on so many levels.  clearly we have a long way to go, and obviously EDUCATION ought to be high on the list of things to improve!
Living here, I have access to lots of information.....as I said on the other thread, I'm willing to post things here as long as there is an interest.  much is available online so you can also find information about it.


You mentioned problems with posting pictures here.  Is there a way I could help you with that?  For instance, could you email me pictures you'd like posted and then I could post them for you?   
what a lovely offer.....we can discuss this further.  thanks.
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Josephine
Sherri
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« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2011, 04:14:28 AM »

Josephine......thanks for posting the article regarding Josephine and Crip.  It really makes one realize what a tragic
loss of the two this week was.  After 45 yrs, LA is making the attempt for reintroduction and in likely less that 45
seconds two of them were taken away senselessly.

Tom's article was great...........thank you.  Love his suggestion that science teachers in particular pick up on
this and educate in the high schools.  Of course, education needs to start at the elementary level, but the reminder
at high school might just help save one from the hands of a kid with nothing better to do than harm wildlife.

Here is a link to the NY Times article by Andrew Revkin that Tom references.
Great article including photo of one of the cranes and the perspective from John B. French, Jr., the leader of the whooping crane restoration
program at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md.
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/a-biologist-decrie-slaying-of-whooping-cranes/

As to posting pictures for you, I can certainly help as well if you wish........if I recall, that is how Doralyn got her start.  wink2


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Jwnix
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« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2011, 08:56:04 AM »

Thanks for posting that here!!

John French is such a nice man.....I love that they included his commentary about the cranes that were shot.....as you can see, they get quite knowledgeable about all aspects of the cranes.  I've been thinking of the various scientists whom I've been privileged to meet over this project and how they've been impacted by this tragedy.

as Tom said in his article, it is much larger than the deaths of 2 birds.....has to do with humans' lack of concern for preservation and protection!!
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Josephine
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« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2011, 04:50:54 PM »

Here is a link which includes John French's piece but also a lovely photo of each chick 8 and 10, to go along with his vignette re: their personalities. It also includes the statement of the ages of the boys......

http://cs.birdwatchingdaily.com/BRDCS/blogs/field_of_view/archive/2011/10/18/louisiana-whooping-crane-killings-heartbreaking-and-ethically-unacceptable.aspx
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Josephine
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« Reply #40 on: October 18, 2011, 07:37:09 PM »

Thanks for posting that article with the pictures, Josephine.  It is just so sad to lose them so senselessly.
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« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2011, 11:51:16 AM »

Here is some news about the Louisiana population and the expectation of a delivery of more young whooping cranes after Thanksgiving that was posted on the OM Field Journal:
Quote
Date: November 7, 2011 Reporter: Liz Condie

LOUISIANA POPULATION NEWS
The newly reintroduced Louisiana Whooping crane population is believed to be down to four birds from the 10 released in February of 2011.

Mortality summary: One crane observed flying with a leg dangling was captured and when it was found that the leg was broken the bird was euthanized. Two cranes were lost, presumably to predation, when flood conditions displaced them from their usual habitat. The two cranes that were recently shot and killed were 'part of a trio', and the third crane has neither been found since, nor have any transmissions from its transmitter been picked up. Biologists on location feel it is likely that something has happened to that crane as well, as it is too young to be out there alone.

The next group of young cranes destined for Louisiana are scheduled to be shipped shortly after Thanksgiving. 16 or 17 captive-reared Whooping cranes will make the trip from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland to White Lake, Louisiana via USFWS aircraft.
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« Reply #42 on: November 09, 2011, 06:57:23 AM »

There is apparently a correction to what Liz Condie wrote (above).  Josephine is clarifying the facts.  
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« Reply #43 on: November 10, 2011, 01:06:08 AM »

Doralyn is correct, there are errors in that which was published, ..... as soon as I get the corrected information, I'll post it.  I assure you that we do NOT need misinformation published about this project.....there are already many challenges associated with it.  When I read the article posted, I immediately went to check facts.  I can tell you unequivocally, there was not a broken leg on that bird. more details to follow when I get them.....
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Josephine
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« Reply #44 on: November 10, 2011, 03:44:39 PM »

As promised, here is current information about our cranes,  given to me by one of the biologists working with them.  The chicks were numbered consecutively, with L (Louisiana), L1, L2, ...L10.   She asked about our forum so I have sent her link and invited her to drop in anytime. Thanks to Sara.
Josephine

"There are likely only 4 of our original 10 birds still alive.  2 of them are missing with non-functional transmitters and while no remains have been found we suspect both of these birds are probably dead.

L1 – Had been with the two birds that were found shot.  She disappeared and her transmitter stopped working at the same time the two birds were killed.  So she’s missing and we don’t know what happened but we do suspect something happened to her and assume she’s likely dead.  

L2 – Still alive and hanging out with L4.

L3 – Still alive, by himself.

L4 – Still alive and hanging out with L2.

L5 – Still alive, by herself.

L6 – Missing.  Transmitter stopped working but she has not been seen or reported so we suspect she’s dead.

L7 - Had always flown with one leg hanging down but it never bothered her when she walked so we just monitored it.  In June a local landowner called and reported seeing her and indicated she was sick or injured.  We captured her and found she was emaciated and sometimes had trouble (an odd gait while walking) with that leg that had hung down during flight.  Her leg was not broken and we couldn’t find any real problems to explain the leg or the emaciation.  Unfortunately she developed a respiratory problem while we were treating her and that along with a lack of improvement of her leg and only a slight increase in her weight led to the decision to euthanize her.  

L8 – Shot and killed.

L9 – Dead, likely predation but due to MS River flooding in the spring we couldn’t access the site until later and by then hardly any remains were found.

L10 – Shot and killed."

Please  list our website to help direct folks there for more info, it is:  http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes
Sara.
 
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Josephine
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