New group of prized Whooping Cranes arrive in Louisiana

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries received the second of three shipments of Whooping Cranes this year on Thursday, Dec. 1, when a Windway Capitol Corporation jet landed at Abbeville Airport carrying 10 of the big birds from Patuxent Wildlife Research in Laurel, Md.

LDWF staff transported the birds, each enclosed in individual ventilated boxes, to an awaiting trailer which took the whooping cranes to the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier.

Each bird was carefully removed from its box and inspected by LDWF veterinarian, Jim LaCour. After a brief examination, each bird was outfitted with color bands around its legs and either a VHF transmitter or satellite transmitter. Once the birds are released, the transmitters will be used by biologists to track their movements.

The 10 birds were carried by LDWF personnel into a receiving area, a top-netted pen that is surrounded by a larger open netted pen, roughly an acre in size.

There were four whooping cranes brought Rockefeller three weeks ago. The first group of four cranes were unloaded on November 9 and have since been released. The birds have remained near the area and even made an appearance as the newer juvenile birds were being placed into the pen Dec. 1.

Another group of Whooping Cranes is scheduled to arrive in Louisiana shortly.

LDWF is nearly completed its sixth year of the non-experimental population of Louisiana Whooping Cranes. The Whooping Crane was considered extinct in 1950 in Louisiana. In 2011, the first shipment of Whooping Cranes arrived and were placed in a holding site White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.