Sunday, March 20, 2005

Whooping Crane Killed By Bobcat

(AP) An experimental flock of whooping cranes has lost one of its youngest members to a Florida bobcat but could be on the verge of producing chicks in the wild for the first time.

Six older cranes in the five-year effort to establish a migratory flock of the endangered birds between Wisconsin and Florida have formed into pairs and are being monitored closely for signs of nesting and breeding behavior, according to Operation Migration, the nonprofit group that has helped coordinate the project.

A Web update on the flock posted by Heather Ray, the group's director of operations, said a bobcat killed one of the cranes that were raised in Wisconsin last year -- just as some of the other cranes have been beginning their flight north.

Remains of the male crane were found not far from a winter pen at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge near Tampa, Florida, she said.

Researchers expect the surviving 12 young cranes to soon begin their flight north, reversing the 1,200-mile route they followed when led by ultralight aircraft from central Wisconsin to Florida in the fall.

*AP story can be read on
*60 Minutes Weekday's Charlie Rose profiled the effort in early March

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