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Whooping Crane Update

From KY Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources

Frankfort, KY, Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - There is good news regarding the effort to restore migrating whooping cranes to the eastern United States. In 1941, the estimated population of whooping cranes worldwide was only 15 birds. By 1999, the worldwide population of whooping cranes was 180 birds. Most of these birds spent the winter in Texas and summers on the border between the United States and Canada.

In an effort to restore a migrating population of whooping cranes in the eastern United States, young whooping cranes, most raised in captivity, are taught to migrate by following humans flying ultralight aircraft from Wisconsin to Florida. This spring, 20 out of the 21 whooping cranes in the project migrated from Florida back to Wisconsin without human assistance.

These birds represent the first freely migrating wild population of whooping cranes in the eastern United States for many decades.



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