Patuxent Wildlife Research Center


Past Reintroductions

“Ultralight-led Migration 2001-2016”

In 2015, the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service decided to end the ultralight-led migration of Whooping Cranes from Wisconsin to Florida. The 15 year-long project was successful in teaching young Whoopers the migration route but failed to instill the parenting skills necessary to rear offspring of their own in the wild. Graduates of the ultralight program failed to rear chicks of their own which meant that without continuous supplementation of their flock from captive centers like Patuxent, the experimental group could not sustain itself. Visit stories by NPR and the Baltimore Sun for more on the significance of ending this reintroduction project.”

“Florida Non-migratory Population 1993-2006”

In 1993, costume and parent-reared Whooping Cranes from four different centers (Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, International Crane Foundation, Calgary Zoo, and San Antonio Zoo) were introduced in central Florida in Osceola, Polk, and Lake Counties. This Florida Non-Migratory Population faced various challenges including dramatic changes in water levels, predation, and an inability to breed and sustain their population. As a result, this reintroduction project was halted in 2006. To learn more about this population’s challenges with reproduction, please read “Reproductive Health and Performance of the Florida Flock of Introduced Whooping Cranes.

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