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U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: December 2, 1997



Scientist to Speak on Whooping Cranes in Louisiana

Dr. John R. Cannon, Director of the Whooping Crane Wintering Sites Study and faculty member at the University of Maryland, will discuss, "Will the Whooping Cranes Return to Louisiana?" at the U. S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center, Monday, December 8 at 2 p.m.

Dr. Cannon will present a progress report on the search for suitable wintering sites for a new, introduced population of migratory whooping cranes. Southwest Louisiana's Marsh Island Wildlife Refuge, managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, is one of two potential wintering habitats chosen for consideration by the Whooping Crane Wintering Sites Study Team.

People attending the presentation will be asked to provide feedback on the possibility of bringing whooping cranes back to Louisiana. The public is invited to attend Dr. Cannon's seminar at the Center, 700 Cajundome Blvd. in Lafayette. Refreshments will be served at 1:45 p.m. followed by Dr. Cannon's talk. Space is limited, so please call 337/266-8655 to ensure seating.

Adult whooping cranes (Grus americana), the tallest birds in North America, are snowy white with black wingtips and red on the top of their heads. They almost became extinct; during 1944, 1952, and 1954, there were only 21 wild living whooping cranes in the world.

Currently there is only one natural wild population of whooping cranes remaining. These wild cranes migrate between Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. There are only about 175 birds in this natural population.

Because of successful captive breeding of whooping cranes, there are now enough captively bred cranes to begin re-introducing some of these birds to natural wild environments. Since 1993, some of the captively bred cranes have been released to form a non-migratory population in the Kissimmee Prairie region of Florida. The next step in the Whooping Crane Recovery Plan is to find suitable nesting sites in Canada and wintering sites in the United States to establish a second migratory population.

The National Wetlands Research Center is part of the U. S. Geological Survey, a federal agency within the Department of the Interior. As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.

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