Saving any species from extinction is an incredibly difficult job. Most of us have no concept of the dedication volunteers, researchers, and scientists contribute or the passion, success, cheers and heartbreak that accompany select small groups intrusted to preserving endangered and rare species. The world headquarters specific to saving the world’s crane species is the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Operation Migration, which rears and trains Whooping Crane chicks to follow a migration route from Wisconsin to Florida each year are based in New York and Canada. In summer they work up the road from me near Berlin, Wisconsin. In early autumn they’ll take several weeks, flying just a couple of hours a day, bearing south leading young Whooping Cranes behind Ultra Lite planes. No Ultra Lites, no Whooping Cranes, no second backup group of a highly endangered birds.
Ultimately, through the Ultra Lites serving as imprinted parent birds, the chicks learn the long forgotten winter migration to Florida – the route that was forgotten when the number of living birds dropped to less than 40 and none were left to lead what had formerly been thousand of birds across our skies on annual migration routes. Thanks to conservation measures and efforts of groups like the International Crane Foundation, Operation Migration, and others, the numbers are very slowly growing. However, there are still less than 600 treasured birds alive and far from sustainable numbers.
The major flock of wild birds belong to a natural group that migrates between Canada and the Texas coastline each year. The scary fact is all it will take is a drought, an oil spill, or a hurricane, to make a major impact on the native group. Establishing a second breeding group between Wisconsin and Florida is of major importance, but no federal funding supports the Operation Migration training program. Every dollar for this research group comes from the public. This year the Federal Government decreed Operation Migration had to replace their three Ultra Lite planes before they could fly in 2014. That means that in addition to the expense of training the chicks to fly this summer, they need to buy new planes, redesign the wings for a specific purpose of flight not required by any other aircraft, rebuild and change over engines and other mechanical issues.
To make this happen they only have thirty, yes a short 30 days, to raise the money to do this. I would not normally use links in my blog, but this is a special request and others have already done a greater job than I to explain how great the need is. I can only share the reasons for there is a place in my heart and my passion for these great white birds. Not many have yet had the privilege of watching these magnificent birds in flight, many people up here don’t even know what they are. That’s how uncommon they still are. Once seen, they are never forgotten, and once remembered, you know they can never be lost.
To donate visit the link below. We appreciate every dollar and even small contributions are welcome. We give a Whoop and a heartfelt thank you.