- Sara Sneath •
- Originally published March 23, 2014 at 10:45 p.m., updated March 24, 2014 at 7:16 a.m.
Felipe Chavez-Ramirez has scars on the back of his hands and forearms from catching whooping cranes. Part of a team of researchers from multiple organizations putting lightweight GPS devices on whoopers, he’s the guy who first puts hands on the 5-foot-tall birds.
“The bird is standing up when I get there. When we’re standing next to each other, we’re looking into each other’s eyes,” the 5-foot-7 Chavez-Ramirez said. “It’s very feisty. Its primary weapon is its legs.”
The research team put tracking devices on 68 of the endangered birds of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population during the span of four years. That was more than 20 percent of population, said Wade Harrell, whooping crane recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The GPS units, which are attached to the bird’s upper leg, send the location of the bird to a satellite four to five times a day, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release.
The team finished putting tracking devices on the birds this wintering season, and the study will continue through the life of the GPS units. Read more: http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2014/mar/23/whooper_gps_ss_032414_235669/?news