Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership
The Whooping Crane
Eastern Partnership (WCEP: say "WEE-sep")
includes the following agencies and organizations who are leading the
effort to reintroduce a migratory
flock of whooping
cranes to the eastern United States. The goal is
to establish a
breeding population of at least 25 pairs.
Migration (OM) is a Canadian non-profit private organization founded in 1994 to
fund research into aircraft-led migration. For many species the ability
to migrate is a learned process and when the last bird is gone from an
area, that route is lost forever. OM has developed a method for re-establishing
these routes by teaching captive-reared birds to follow specially designed
ultralight aircraft. OM has conducted several successful migration studies
leading three species of birds to winter habitat, and now the technique
has been refined for whooping cranes. OM trained birds for a preliminary
study using sandhill cranes as research surrogates s in 2000-01. This
"dress rehearsal" was a harbinger of success, and now the
OM team is leading a new flock of whooping cranes from Wisconsin to Florida
in 2001. OM also participates in education, outreach and fundraising.
International Crane Foundation
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 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 will
have an active role in the reintroduction of an eastern migratory population
of whooping cranes. The new flock will be released in Wisconsin and taught
to migrate to Florida. ICF will educate the public about the reintroduction
effort through outreach programs and on-site tours. The ICF Crane Conservation
Department will provide expertise in rearing chicks for release, and monitor
the health of the new flock. The ICF Development Team will participate
in securing funding for this project.
International Whooping Crane Recovery Team (WCRT)
Whooping Crane Recovery Team consists of ten crane experts to provide
policy recommendations to the Regional
Directors of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife
Service who appoint five members respectively. The Team writes a plan
to recover the species. Its primary goal is to plan actions to fully protect
the Aransas/Wood Buffalo natural flock, and establish two additional flocks
in order to save the species. Using cranes hatched in captivity, they
began efforts in 1993 to establish a nonmigratory whooping crane flock
in Florida. There are currently about 88 whooping cranes in central Florida.
The Recovery Team has searched North America for the best place to establish
a migratory population. In September, 1999, the Team recommended that
a whooping crane flock be established using ultralight aircraft to teach
a migration pathway between central Wisconsin and the west coast of Florida.
Fish and Wildlife Service
Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service are given the
responsibility by law to recover endangered species. The Service will
facilitate a diverse partnership of federal, state and private organizations
whose common goal is to establish a second migratory flock of whooping
cranes in the eastern states. Additionally, the Service has primary responsibility
for operations at the Wisconsin release site (Necedah
National Wildlife Refuge) and the Florida wintering site (Chassahowitzka
National Wildlife Refuge). As part of the overall team, the Service is
also responsible for flyway states coordination, budget development and
project outreach and communications.
Department of Natural Resources
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency charged
with managing 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 an eastern migrating population
of whooping cranes and was chosen by the WCRT as the summer nesting site.
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 is also funding the project coordinatorâs
position and is providing many staff and department resources to the project.
Foundation of Wisconsin
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization
that promotes the knowledge, enjoyment, and stewardship of Wisconsinâs
natural resources by providing educational programs and financially empowering
grassroots as well as professional environmental programs. We help a variety
of DNR programs in need of private sector support, but actively fundraise
for selected major projects, like the whooping crane recovery effort.
We are committed to raise start-up funds for the projectâs first
three years to help construct facilities and purchase equipment critical
to the projectâs success.
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Patuxent) of the U. S. Geological Survey
provides research support to client bureaus in the Dept. of Interior.
Included are the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U. S. Park Service,
and the Bureau of Land Management and other clients in the United States.
Patuxent 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 will supply
a substantial number of whooping cranes for the Wisconsin to Florida release
project. Patuxent will also provide research and logistical support for
the Wisconsin release. This support will include rearing sandhill and
whooping crane chicks conditioned to follow ultralight aircraft. Patuxent
will ship these chicks to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin
for continued ultralight training.
The National Fish
and Wildlife Foundation
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a private, non-profit organization
established by Congress in 1984 to benefit the conservation of fish, wildlife,
and plants, and the habitat on which they depend. Its goals are conservation
education, habitat protection and restoration, and natural resource management.
The Foundation meets these goals by creating partnerships between the
public and private sectors and strategically investing in conservation
projects. The Foundation awards challenge grants in which seed funds awarded
are required to be matched with additional funding. The Foundationâs
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.