The beautiful white whooping cranes, numbered amongst the world's rarest birds, have won their struggle to survive -- for one more year.
The beautiful white whooping cranes, numbered amongst the world's rarest birds, have won their struggle to survive -- for one more year. In the past three months they have been arriving in small groups at their winter-quarters in Texas from their nesting grounds in the Great Slave Lake area of Canada, 2,500 miles ( 4,000 kms ) to the north.
The whooping cranes have become a symbol to many Americans who are concerned over protection of the natural environment, and their safe return to their winter haunt, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, is anxiously awaited.
The tall birds begin to arrive in October, and the latest recorded arrival is December 20th. This year the count has been satisfactory but no more -- 56 birds flew north in the spring: only 51 returned. But they brought six young with them, a net gain of one.
The manager of the refuge, Gordon Hansen, has learn to expect four loses a year, from a combination of old age, collisions with power cables, and illegal shooting. Each year the hope is that new births will more than make up for the losses.
In 1941 only 15 whooping cranes survived in the world. Legislation and research helped to lead this beautiful creature slowly back from the brink of extinction. The news this year is that the cranes are still flying.