Wednesday, October 22, 2008

End of Whooping Crane Reintroduction in Florida

The Fish and Wildlife Service will stop releasing new whooping cranes into a nonmigratory flock in Florida because the flock is unable to sustain itself.

The conclusion that Florida's introduced whooping crane flock probably wasn't going to make it was not a total surprise.

"The odds were never good," Stehn said, explaining there are inherent problems with introducing captive-reared birds into the wild.

"They're naive birds, raised in a very different environment than the one in which they find themselves," he said.

In the early days of the experiment, scientists quickly discovered the cranes didn't recognize predators such as bobcats as threats.

As a result, bobcats killed nine of the first 14 birds released in Florida, forcing biologists to come up with a method to teach the cranes to flee when bobcats approached.
For now, support for the migratory flocks in Texas and Florida will continue.