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From the Bird's Beak

Closing the whooping crane program at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

Closing the whooping crane program at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

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This is a link to an article on the front page of the Washington Post regarding the closing of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center's whooping crane recovery program. http://tinyurl.com/y7e95kpv This program is vital to the recovery of this severely endangered species.

A lot of you know that I worked at Patuxent with the crane program for over 20 years. The majority of birds raised for release were produced at Patuxent. All the birds that are part of the program at the Calgary Zoo and the International Crane Foundation (ICF) were produced at Patuxent.
In the 80s, Patuxent held basically the entire captive population of whooping cranes, so it was determined that for the safety of the breeding flock, Patuxent's flock would be divided up and half were sent to ICF. Most of those birds never bred again, and when they decided to develop a breeding flock at the Calgary Zoon, those birds were sent not as adults but as eggs to grow up in the place where they would breed. The adults they're planning to remove from Patuxent are older (though still productive). Moving them will cause some to die and those that survive will more than likely never breed again. That's the history of moving whooping cranes out of Patuxent. So, this will be a major loss to the reintroduction effort, which is far from finished. 500 animals in an endangered species is a critical number, especially when only about 300 of them are in the wild.

If you care about the survival of the most endangered crane in the world, please consider contacting your local representative. I have.

  • Got it as news feature on the Animals Voice home page for you.... this is such sad news. I hope enough people opposing can change minds.
  • I was so very sorry to hear about this, I know how hard you and everyone else at Patuxent worked to keep the cranes going.
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