You Gotta Dance With the One Who Brung Ya
By Chester McConnell, Friends of the Wild Whoopers
Known as the Aransas-Wood Buffalo (AWBP) population because of the winter and summer habitats they use, this self-sustaining population nests and rear their chicks in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP). A few weeks after the chicks fledge, they migrate with their parents 2500 miles to ANWR on the Texas coast where they spend the winter months.
The most significant cause of decline in the Whooping Crane population came as a result of habitat loss. Millions of acres of wetlands were drained for agricultural interests destroying virtually all of their nesting habitats except those in WBNP.
Private conservation organizations and government officials finally recognized the plight of the Whooping Cranes in the 1940s and initiated efforts to protect and manage the birds. As a result, the population of the remaining wild flock increased over the following 60 years. Today there are approximately 300 birds in this population.
With this increase in numbers, the Whooping Cranes are running out of secure wintering habitats along the Texas coast and secure stop-over-points along the migration route. Presently, only about half of the occupied wintering habitat is within the safeguarded areas of the ANWR complex. Land development and increased land use intensity along the migration route is reducing even more wetland habitats.
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***** 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.