BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced on Monday two whooping cranes released into the wild are now parents to a newly hatched chick.
The event marks the first whooping crane hatched in Louisiana in 75 years. State officials say this type of crane was more common in the state until the last Louisiana native whooping crane was transported to Texas in 1950. LDWF officials say over-hunting and repurposing of the bird's native habitat drove the whooping crane population down.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries began to re-introduce the whooping cranes to Louisiana in 2011 in a partnership with a number of state and national agencies.
"One of the major steps in restoring the species is successful reproduction," says LDWF biologist and whooping crane project leader Sara Zimorski "We've had several pairs nesting the last couple of years but until now no favorable outcomes. It's an exciting time for us and all of our partners who have worked so hard alongside us.
Jefferson Davis Parish is the home for the trio of whooping cranes. It is a trend that LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon hopes to continue. "The ultimate goal is to establish a self-sustaining whooping crane population in Louisiana so that this beautiful bird can thrive for generations to come," said Melancon.
Anyone who encounters a whooping crane in the wild is advised to observe the bird from a distance and encouraged to report the sighting to LDWF using this form.