The International Crane Foundation this fall successfully released 80-19, a female juvenile whooping crane, in the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in western Indiana.
“This November, Goose Pond served as the ideal release spot for Arya, a juvenile whooping crane,” said Melanie Cowell, outreach assistant at the International Crane Foundation. “Indiana provides crucial habitat for stopover sites for endangered whooping cranes.”
The young crane is part of International Crane Foundation’s parent-rearing program, where juveniles are reared at the foundation’s headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin, by adult cranes.
In the fall, the juvenile whooping cranes are released in the wild near other whooping cranes, hopefully to join the adults as they migrate south as part of the Eastern Migratory population.
In this case, Arya was driven down from Wisconsin and released by the International Crane Foundation and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources staff.
“The moment of release was a happy one,” said Cowell. “Arya, who will be known in the wild as ‘80-19,’ emerged from her transport crate, looked around at her new temporary home and took her first flight in the wild around the wetland.”
Later that same morning, she met up with two wild hatched adult whooping cranes. So far this fall, 18 Whooping Cranes have been counted at Goose Pond. “Most likely, they will mix into sandhill crane flocks on their route south,” Cowell said.
“Whooping cranes are the rarest crane species in the world. The fact that they can reliably be seen in Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area, Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area and surrounding areas makes Indiana a very special place,” said Cowell. Named for their loud and distinctive calls, whooping cranes once lived throughout much of North America.
If you notice suspicious or unethical activity towards the cranes or their habitat, please report this activity to the IDNR at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.
To learn more about whooping cranes and the other 14 crane species supported through the work of the International Crane Foundation, visit www.savingcranes.org.