Wildlife News

Oct. 11, 2011 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)
Enforcement Division agents have identified two juveniles for their alleged
role in the illegal shooting of two whooping cranes in Jefferson Davis




*LDWF Enforcement Division Identifies Two Juveniles as Suspects in

/To request b-roll footage and photos of the whooping crane
email mailto:aeinck@wlf.la.gov./

Oct. 11, 2011 -- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)
Enforcement Division agents have identified two juveniles for their alleged
role in the illegal shooting of two whooping cranes in Jefferson Davis

According to an eyewitness account, two juveniles 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

LDWF agents and biologists were notified yesterday morning, Oct. 10, and
retrieved the dead birds, which were a part of LDWF's whooping crane
reintroduction program.  Agents were able to locate the suspected juveniles
Monday night based on information from the eyewitness account.

"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 LDWF Secretary Robert Barham. “We take
this careless crime very seriously.”

LDWF received 10 whooping cranes in February of this year from the U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS) Research Facility in Laurel, Md., and placed them
the coastal marsh of Vermilion Parish within LDWF’s White Lake Wetlands
Conservation Area (WCA).  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.

LDWF is working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS), USGS, the International Crane Foundation and the Louisiana
Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to bring the species back to
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
Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

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
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
as hunting and specimen collection, which also occurred across North
America.  The last bird in southwest Louisiana was removed to a sanctuary

The only self-sustaining wild population of whooping cranes migrates
Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories of Canada and
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
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
About 100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population.  For the 11th
in as many years, ultralight-led captive reared whooping cranes are
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.

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