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Non-profit organizations, individuals and government agencies joining forces to bring a migratory population of whooping cranes back to eastern North America




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Outdoor Wisconsin Features Whooping Crane Reintroduction
Photo by Operation Migration; Tom Schultz

Individual Information for each whooping crane in the eastern flock. (links to a 1-page PDF)


In the PDF document, click on the hatch year to view more information about the individual whooping crane.


Outdoor Wisconsin Features Whooping Crane Reintroduction Project

April 3, 2014

Training young whooping cranes for fall migration is featured on the April 3, 2014 Outdoor Wisconsin program. Outdoor Wisconsin is produced by Milwaukee Public Television.


Whooping Crane Funding Comes to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge will receive $210,000.00 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cooperative Recovery Initiative, a highly competitive grant. This funding initiative is designed to support nearly 300 threatened and endangered species found in and around national wildlife refuges. Only four grants were awarded this year. Necedah’s grant will support three years of management activities to expand the limited understanding of multiple factors that influence nesting whooping cranes. Field work under this grant will be conducted from this spring in 2014 through 2016.


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WCEP Public Service Announcement - Video   




Download PSA as .flv

Download PSA as .wmv



Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership Five Year Strategic Plan 2011–2015: March 2014 Status Report & Updates

Read Plan (18-page PDF)


WCEP Bti Summary Statement for 2014

After 13 years of whooping crane releases in Wisconsin, the Eastern Migratory Population is not self-sustaining. There are approximately 100 whooping cranes in the population, most of them nesting on or around the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (Necedah Refuge). While the population’s survival, migration behavior, habitat selection, pair formation, and egg production all appear to be normal, the current reproductive success rate is too low to sustain the population. Since the reintroduced population first began nesting in 2005, less than 5% of nests have produced chicks that survived to migration age.


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Whooping Crane Project Update: December 16, 2013 to February 28, 2014


Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 103 birds (59 males and 44 females). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 29 cranes in Indiana, 10 in Illinois, 9 in Tennessee, 7 in Kentucky, 15 in Alabama, 2 in Georgia, 15 in Florida, 13 at unknown locations and 3 not reported in ten or more months. The total for Florida includes 8 newly released juveniles. Long term missing cranes nos. 12-07 and 16-10 are now considered dead and are removed from the population totals above.


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Endangered Whooping Cranes Arrive at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, FL on Aircraft-guided Flight

Eight young whooping cranes that began their aircraft-led migration on October 2, 2013, from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, made it to their destination at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Wakulla County, Florida. These cranes are the 13th group to be guided by ultralight aircraft from central Wisconsin to the Gulf coast of Florida. The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP), an international coalition of public and private organizations, is conducting the reintroduction project in an effort to restore this endangered species to part of its historic range in eastern North America. There are now 109 whooping cranes in the wild in eastern North America thanks to WCEP’s efforts.


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Whooping Crane Update: 15 November to 15 December 2013


Maximum size of the eastern migratory population at the end of the report period was 101 birds (56 males and 45 females). Estimated distribution at the end of the report period or last record included 5 whooping cranes in Illinois, 37 in Indiana, 9-11 in Tennessee, 7-9 in Kentucky, 24 in Alabama, 2 in Georgia, 6 in Florida, 3 at unknown locations, 3 not reported in eight or more months, 1 presumed dead, and 2 long term missing. 


Project Update Continues »


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Direct Autumn Release Birds - - WCEP Statement

December 12, 2013


They are on the move! A lot has happened since our last update on the four Direct Autumn Release (DAR) Whooping Cranes remaining in central Wisconsin. WCEP staff traveled to Horicon National Wildlife Refuge early Wednesday morning to relocate the young cranes to a more suitable wintering area, but the cranes had other plans -- all four took wing on their own! Three of the cranes were confirmed in northern Illinois Wednesday afternoon, while the fourth, #59-13, decided to return to the refuge. She was transported to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday and released on the refuge. We will continue to track the three cranes on the move and will keep you updated on their progress as we know more.


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Direct Autumn Release Birds - - WCEP Statement

December 11, 2013


Thank you to everyone who has been following our updates on the Direct Autumn Release (DAR) Whooping Cranes. With the recent arrival of winter weather in Wisconsin, we’ve been monitoring the cranes at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on a daily basis.


Sadly, two additional DAR cranes have recently died. DAR Whooping Crane “Hawkeye” was found dead on December 4, and “Epstein” was found dead on December 7.  Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership members are deeply concerned about the welfare of the four remaining cranes at Horicon NWR. The partnership has been working around the clock this week to find the best solution for relocating the birds as soon as possible.


We greatly appreciate your concern and support as we work through the next step in this reintroduction effort.  We will continue to keep you updated on the health and status of the DAR birds. 



2013 WCEP News and Feature Stories


2012 WCEP News and Feature Stories


2011 WCEP News and Feature Stories