Whooping Crane: The Most Famous Endangered Bird in North America

Whooping Crane: The Most Famous Endangered Bird in North America

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Category: Veterinary Medicine and Zoology Essay
Subcategory: Zoology
Words: 465
Pages: 1

Whooping Crane The Whooping Crane is the most famous endangered bird in North America. It is famous mostly because it is large, distinctive, and photogenic. Since 1967, Canadians and Americans have cooperated in a successful recovery program to save it from extinction. The adult Whooping Crane, is the tallest North American bird. It has a long neck, long dark pointed bill, and long thin black legs. A large male is about 1.5m tall. In the air the wings measure about 2m. The threats of the Whooping Crane have been concerning naturalists for many years about the possible extinction of this magnificent bird. They believe destruction of breeding habitat was the main reason for its decline. The population was estimated to be between 1300 and 1400 birds in 1860. Whooping Cranes were hunted openly up to the early 1900s but were never numerous enough to be an important target for hunters. The birds were protected by law in 1916, but nonetheless the population continued to decrease. By 1941, only about 22 wild Whooping Crane remained, six of them in a nonmigratory population in Louisiana that became extinct in 1950 as a result of severe storm. The other 16 birds are the ancestors of today's wild flock, which, after careful management, numbered 150 cranes in 1993. Increased industrial development in north and elsewhere heralds difficult times for the Whooping Crane. Powerlines, microwave towers, and other structures common in southern North America are hazardous to flying birds several Whooping Cranes have flown into a overhead wires and died. Great concern excists about the continued passage of ship traffic through the whoopers' winter range in Texas. Spillage of ship's cargo of oil or chemicals could make the area uninhabitable for cranes or kill the birds outright. Boat traffic also causes erosion of shorelines and loss of habitat. In 1966, CWS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began captive-breeding program to conserve Whooping Cranes. In early 1967, a...

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