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Safety Concerns Grow as Endangered Whooping Cranes Migrate Beyond Refuge

Feb 26, 2013 | KRIS-TV | Related Press

Whooping cranes spend the winter season at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, TX.

After one of the endangered cranes was accidentally shot and killed by a hunter on San Jose Island earlier this year, there’s concern the cranes may be moving away from the refuge.

Out on a large and remote location in Aransas County is the 115,000 acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, a prime location for endangered whooping cranes that are wintering in the area.

Back into the 1940’s the whooping crane numbers were only into the teens, but thanks to the efforts of the refuge, those numbers have grown past 200.

Due to the incident on San Jose Island, we asked wildlife officials if they’re worried cranes are placing themselves at risk as they move outside the refuge.

Whooping crane coordinator, Dr. Wade Harrell, with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said, “There always is concern no one likes to see a loss of an endangered species, but there are natural mortality factors out there you do see individual loses, the positive thing is with the growth of the flock its much more resilient now to losing a few birds than it was say 30 to 40 years ago.”

 

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