Date: 10/9/19 5:59 am From: Joseph Neal <joeneal...> Subject: That Holla Bend Whooper
Karen Rowe of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently posted to the ARBIRD list that the Whooping Crane currently at Holla Bend NWR is the same crane (banded L4-17) that migrated through Arkansas from Oklahoma in early October 2018 and wintered south of Roe in southeastern Arkansas in October-December 2018. David Oakley and I made a trip to Holla Bend yesterday to see this bird. We were excited, of course. More than 10,000 whoopers probably lived in North America before habitat loss and overhunting forced their numbers down to 21 by the 1940s, including a handful in Louisiana. Part of the effort for Whooping Crane recovery includes rebuilding a population in over one million acres of marshlands in southwestern Louisiana. The last Louisiana whoopers lived in what is now White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area. This is where in 2011 efforts were underway to rebuild the Louisiana population. The Holla Bend bird is associated with this effort. To ensure contact with the released birds, each crane is equipped with a legband-mounted radio transmitter and/or a solar powered global positioning system (GPS) satellite transmitter to assess movements and social behavior. A facebook post from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries dated June 25, 2018, states, “Female L4-17 is on another adventure! Last winter after release at the White Lake WCA, she traveled northeast, spending some time in Bullock Co, Alabama. Last month, she decided to check out the west, even flying into northern Mexico before traveling northeast and settling in Oklahoma!” (This is only to June 2018 – more data since). This is why the Endangered Species Act is so important. Without it -- and without generous efforts of many individuals, organizations, and agencies -- we would have likely have gone to ZERO rather than to the 500-600 or so that live in the wild today. Arkansas has a big stake in the fate of the Endangered Species Act. How about Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Inland Least Terns, whatever there is or is not of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, and now, Whooping Cranes? And I haven’t even gotten to the rare plants and other animals that require these protections if we are to keep filled the Ark of life on Earth.