Washington (July 10, 2018) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Friends of the Wild Whoopers to assist in the recovery of endangered whooping cranes.
Per the MOU, USACE and Friends of the Wild Whoopers will jointly assess whooping crane migration stopover habitat at USACE water resources development projects. The assessments will be used by USACE to develop work plans that maintain and improve existing habitat and create additional habitat for this critically endangered bird as part of USACE Environmental Stewardship Program.
A flock of whooping cranes stop to feed and rest in a field at the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, Kanopolis Lake during their fall migration. In 2017, conservation efforts in the U.S. and Canada have seen the population increase to an estimated 431 birds. (Photo by U.S.Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District)
The whooping crane is one of the most endangered bird species in the world and is commonly seen as America’s symbol of conservation. Standing 5 feet tall with a wing span of 7 feet, it is the largest bird in North America.
Once fairly common, the species was reduced to just 16 birds by 1943. Market hunting and indiscriminate shooting along with habitat loss led to the decline of the species. Conservation efforts in the United States and Canada have seen the population increase to an estimated 431 birds in 2017.
This partnership is consistent with USACE’s responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act, which states that federal agencies may use their existing authorities to assist in the recovery of listed species.
Read more here.
A rare white leucistic sandhill crane hangs out Saturday morning with its gray friends in a cornfield west of Fort Kearny State Historical Park. Leucism is a genetic mutation causing partial loss of pigmentation, so many leucistic cranes have some gray feathers. This one appears to be all white. Photo by Lori Potter, Kearney Hub
A quick first glance might leave you to think that this white crane is a whooping crane. However, it is not a whooping crane but a sandhill crane with an abnormality called leucism. Leucism is an abnormal condition of reduced pigmentation affecting various animals (such as birds, mammals, and reptiles) that is marked by overall pale color or patches of reduced coloring and is caused by a genetic mutation which inhibits melanin and other pigments from being deposited in feathers, hair, or skin.
This rare white-as-snow sandhill crane was spotted Saturday morning in a group of several hundred gray cranes eating in a cornfield west of Fort Kearny State Historical Park.
Read more about this leucistic sandhill crane here.
***** FOTWW’s mission is to help preserve and protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo
population of wild whooping cranes and their habitat. *****
Friends of the Wild Whoopers is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.