There are around 300 whooping cranes alive. (Source: WALB)
Operation Migration has flown the birds over GA to Florida for 15 years (Source: WALB)
The effort is switching over to allow the birds to raise self-sufficient chicks. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Operation Migration will no longer guide endangered Whooping Cranes from Wisconsin to Florida.
For the past 15 years, the non-profit group has passed through south Georgia leading the cranes on a winter migration. Recently, the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined the man-taught birds didn't successful raise chicks for the wild.
Now the group will concentrate on producing birds raised by their own kind.
"People were kind of disappointed that the ultra light method is ending," said CEO and co-founder of Operation Migration Joe Duff. "And we want to encourage them to realize while we're ending one technique but we're not finished. The population has not failed. It's reached a milestone, and now its time to change techniques."
The group's goal remains to produce a self-sustaining population of whooping cranes.
Stats on the program:
The total cost was $20 million.
Through the years they've released 250 cranes.
93 are still alive.
Only about 300 whooping cranes remain in existence.
The species is the tallest bird in North America at about 5 and a half feet, with a wingspan of 7-feet