Archive for December 22nd, 2008

Whooping Cranes: Back from the Brink

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

Once widespread across North America, the Whooping crane, the tallest bird in the US, nearly became extinct in the mid twentieth century due in part to habitat loss and unregulated hunting.

By the time people started paying attention in the 1930s and 40s, the whooping cranes were restricted to occurring in the United States only in a small population in Louisiana, and along the Texas coast in the winter.

Wildlife Biologist, Lee Ann Linam, says Whooping cranes landed on the endangered species list in 1967… with no time to spare.

And those numbers were unbelievably low at some point. That Texas population got down to 15 or 16 birds one winter.

Collaborative efforts between pubic and private organizations and landowners in the US and Canada, helped the species to rebound. Biologists expect more than 280 birds to winter at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge this year.

It’s so neat to be able to tell a come back story for endangered species. You know, so many times we are constantly fighting the threats that are hard to off-set, and species continue to languish somewhat, or at least struggle for recovery. [bird calls] And it’s nice to show that, in this case, the endangered species act and the other efforts that went on to protect migratory waterfowl were able to bring a species back from the brink.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge