Whooping Cranes Research Refuge at Patuxent

Prologue : Over the years the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center had performed an abundance of important research on whooping cranes and many other wildlife species. Friends of the Wild Whoopers (FOTWW) is reproducing a recent article concerning Patuxent and whooping cranes that we believe will interest you. The article by the National Wildlife Refuge Association follows:

May 12, 2014

In April’s Flyer E-Newsletter we highlighted Patuxent Research Refuge and the uniqueness in its mission as the only refuge exclusively created to further wildlife research. Patuxent Research Refuge is the home of  the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, and one of the highlighted research projects is a captive flock of whooping cranes, the continent’s tallest bird. The study is being conducted by USGS, but is done on refuge grounds .

Whooping Cranes at Patuxent Research Refuge | USGS
Whooping Cranes at Patuxent Research Refuge | USGS

In 1942, only 16 whooping cranes remained in the flock that annually migrates from Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. An additional six cranes were located in Louisiana, bringing the total global population to just 22 individuals. Unfortunately, the Louisiana flock died out a few years later, so all the whooping cranes now alive derive from the original 16 birds from the Aransas-Wood Buffalo flock. As of October 2013, an estimated 434 whooping cranes exist in the wild – a significant improvement – thanks in part to the captive breeding program at Patuxent.

How it all began

The captive flock at Patuxent began in 1966 with the arrival of a juvenile whooping crane, captured from the Canadian flock after it broke its wing. Patuxent had already been working with other endangered species, and had made plans to work on whooping cranes. It was a natural transition, and has turned out to be a success. Currently about 70 cranes are on the refuge, not including this year’s reproduction.

To read the complete article, click on the link:  Whooping Cranes at Patuxent Research Refuge.

***** FOTWW’s mission is to protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo population
of wild whooping cranes and their habitat
. *****

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