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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed aerial surveys of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo whooping crane population, the only surviving wild population of whooping cranes in the world. Preliminary survey data indicated 308 whooping cranes, including 39 juveniles, in the primary survey area (approximately 153,200 acres) centered on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

 Whooping Crane Numbers Look Good

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed aerial surveys of the Aransas-Wood Buffalo whooping crane population, the only surviving wild population of whooping cranes in the world. Preliminary survey data indicated 308 whooping cranes, including 39 juveniles, in the primary survey area (approximately 153,200 acres) centered on Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Six birds were spotted outside the primary survey area. The survey shows an upward trend in whooping crane abundance over the last four years.

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest birds in North America and are highly endangered. Cranes can survive more than twenty-five years in the wild. Adults generally reach reproductive age at four or five years, and then lay two eggs, usually rearing only one chick.

“Recruitment of young birds into the adult population is extremely important to the recovery of the species,” stated Wade Harrell, U.S. Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator. “We were thrilled to see preliminary survey numbers included 39 juvenile birds.”

More information about the survey and whooping cranes can be found on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Aransas/ or by calling (361) 286-3559.

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