The Power of Partnership
Government & Non-Profit’s joining forces
to safeguard the rarest crane in the world.
The Eastern Migratory Population of whooping cranes was established to provide North America with another stable migratory population of these majestic white birds. The project extends from Wisconsin to Florida and includes all of the states along and adjacent to the flyway. The numbers of important partners, sponsors, and donors has grown to well over 60 and each individual plays a critical role in the success of this project.
International Whooping Crane Recovery Team
The Whooping Crane Recovery Team consists of ten crane experts from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service. The Team is responsible for providing policy recommendations to the Regional Directors of both agencies and writing the plan to recover the species. Its primary goals are to take action to fully protect the Aransas/Wood Buffalo natural flock, and to establish two additional flocks in order to remove the species from the Endangered Species Act. Using cranes hatched in captivity, efforts to establish a non-migratory whooping crane flock began in Florida in 1993. As of 2009, this flock has about 40 individuals. In September of 1999 the Team recommended that a migratory whooping crane flock be established using ultralight aircraft travelling between central Wisconsin and the west coast of Florida. Since then, Direct Autumn Release (an additional reintroduction project) has started in the Eastern Migratory Population
Since its founding in 1973, the International Crane Foundation (ICF), a non-profit organization, focuses attention on the conservation of the world’s fifteen species of cranes. Through its programs in education, research, field ecology, captive propagation and reintroduction ICF helps to ensure the survival of cranes and their habitats throughout the world. ICF has an integral role in the reintroduction of the EMP in the following areas: education about the project, providing eggs to the ultralight project, oversight of the Direct Autumn Release project, monitoring the health of the new flock, tracking released individuals, and securing funding. For more information, visit http://www.savingcranes.org/.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency charged with managing all aspects of Wisconsin’s environment; from fish and wildlife, to air, water, land, and outdoor recreation. Wisconsin was the first state to officially partner with the Whooping Crane Recovery Team (WCRT) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the effort to establish the EMP of whooping cranes. The state maintains and manages a portion of the wetland complex that will support the whooping crane flock, and has supplied much of the environmental data used to assess the suitability of the Wisconsin site where the cranes will be released. The DNR also manages the database of information regarding the whooping cranes post-release. For more information, visit http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/birds/wcrane/index.htm.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is a private non-profit organization established by Congress in 1984 to benefit the conservation of fish, wildlife, plants, and the habitats upon which they depend. Its goals are conservation education, habitat protection and restoration, and natural resource management. NFWF meets these goals by creating partnerships between the public and private sectors and strategically investing in conservation projects. NFWF awards challenge grants in which seed funds awarded are required to be matched with additional funding. The Foundation’s challenge grants not only increase dollars directed to conservation, but also increase organizations dedicated to conservation. The Foundation facilitates cooperation and buy-in from diverse stakeholders by creating partnerships among federal, state, and local governments, corporations, private foundations, individuals, and non-profit organizations. For more information, visit http://www.nfwf.org/.
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is a 501c-3 non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. For more than twenty years, the Foundation has worked with citizens, businesses, non-profits and the government to promote the protection and enjoyment of Wisconsin’s public lands, waters and wildlife. The Foundation joined the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership in 2001 to provide funding for on-the-ground project needs including crane tracking and monitoring, veterinary and equipment needs, and outreach and education activities. Since 2001, the Foundation has provided nearly $450,000 to the recovery efforts. For more information, visit http://wisconservation.org/index.php?page=Whooping_Cranes.
Operation Migration Inc and Operation Migration USA Inc (OM) share the same mission: To advance the conservation of migratory species and their habitats through innovative research, education, and partnership. For many avian species, the ability to migrate is a learned process, and following a decade of research, field studies, and successful trials with Canada geese, Trumpeter swans, and Sandhill cranes, OM’s unique method of teaching captive-hatched Whooping cranes a migratory route was endorsed by the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team. This led to Operation Migration becoming a founding partner of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, a coalition of private and public agencies whose goal it is to safeguard the endangered Whooping crane from extinction through the reintroduction and establishment of an Eastern Migratory Population. Every year since the reintroduction project’s initiation in 2001, OM has imprinted a new generation of captive-raised chicks on its ultralight aircraft in order to lead them from Wisconsin to Florida. Each successive spring the ultralight-led Whooping cranes return unassisted to central Wisconsin, resuming a migratory pattern that had been interrupted for more than a century. For more information, visit http://www.operationmigration.org/.
The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Patuxent) of the U.S. Geological Survey is located in Laurel, MD on 12,800 acres of land managed for a diversity of mid-Atlantic habitats. Patuxent raises about two-thirds of all whooping cranes raised for release to the wild and acts as the beginning hatch site for the ultralight portion of the project. After approximately 40 days at Patuxent, the young cranes will be shipped courtesy of Windway Capitol Corporation to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge where they will continue their training. Patuxent also provides research and logistical support for the Wisconsin release. For more information, visit http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Canadian Wildlife Service are given the responsibility by law to recover endangered species. The Service facilitates the diverse partnership of federal, state, and private organizations whose common goal is the success of the Eastern Migratory Population (EMP). Additionally, the Service has primary responsibility for operations at the Wisconsin release site (Necedah National Wildlife Refuge) and the two Florida wintering sites (Chassahowitzka and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuges). As part of the overall team, the Service is also responsible for flyway states coordination, budget development, and project outreach and communications. For more information, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered and search for “whooping crane”.
The National Wildlife Health Center is one of sixteen science and technology centers in the Biological Resources Division (BRD) of the U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the Department of the Interior. The NWHC was established in 1975 as a biomedical laboratory dedicated to assessing the impact of disease on wildlife and to identifying the role of various pathogens in contributing to wildlife losses. Each year, wildlife managers across the United States are confronted with sick and dead animals, frequently on a large scale. Minimizing such wildlife losses depends on effective technical support, knowledgeable guidance, and timely intervention. The NWHC mission is to provide information, technical assistance, and research on national and international wildlife health issues. To fulfill the NWHC mission, the Center monitors disease and assesses the impact of disease on wildlife populations; defines ecological relationships leading to the occurrence of disease; transfers technology for disease prevention and control; and provides guidance, training and on-site assistance for reducing wildlife losses when outbreaks occur.
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