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A captive Whooping Crane colony was established at the Patuxent Wildlifa Research Center in Maryland in 1966. This colony first produced eggs in 1975 and has produced 252 eggs through 1990. From 1976 to 1984, 73 eggs were sent Io Grays Lake, Idaho, the site of the first Whooplng Crane reintroduction attempt. Canada also provided 216 eggs (1976-1988) from the wild population. Although 84 chicks fledged, the egg transfer program has been discontinued because of inordinately high mortality and lack of breeding. In recent decades, several new methods have emerged for introducing captive-produced offspring to the wild. The largest Introduction efforl involves the rearing of Mississippi Sandhill Cranes, either by captive Sandhill Crane foster parents, or by costumed humans in close association with live cranes and with taxidermy mount feeding models and brooder models. These two techniques have resulted in high post-release survival rates and will llkely be used in future Whooping Crane relntroduction programs. Current recovery objectives for the Whooping Crane include the establishment of three captive colonies and the building of two other wild populations. A full-scale reintroduction effort (at least 20 birds/year) is scheduled to begin at the first site (Florida) with birds reared in 1994 or 1995.
Additional Publication Details
Past and potential contributions of captive breeding to population recovery of the Whooping Crane