Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) is formed of non-profit organizations, individuals and government agencies – all joining forces to bring a migratory population of Whooping Cranes back to eastern North America.

Founding partners include:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), International Crane Foundation (ICF), Operation Migration (OM), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, International Whooping Crane Recovery Team, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRF).

Achievement of this mission will bring the Whooping Crane closer to recovery from its current status as a species in danger of extinction.

The Whooping Crane (Grus americana) is a critically imperiled North American crane species with fewer than 500 birds in a single, wild population that migrates between northern Canada and the Coast of Texas. The International Whooping Crane Recovery Team has recommended the establishment of additional populations to safeguard against extinction.

WCEP formed in 1999 and the reintroduction began in 2001 when the first 7 Whooping cranes were taught a migration route from Wisconsin to Florida by following the tiny aircraft of Operation Migration. The following spring the 6 surviving cranes returned to central Wisconsin where they had taken their first flights.

Since that historic beginning the Eastern Migratory Population now numbers over 100 cranes that migrate twice annually. Going forward, we must continue to build the population and to determine how best to help the flock become self-sustaining. For updates visit: Project Updates.