Injured DAR Whooping Crane Treated at Disney Animal Kingdom

Update: 2/5/13. Disney Animal Kingdom staff report that Tussock is doing well! She is gaining weight, and her toe is healing. Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership members are currently deciding where to release her, once she is deemed ready for return to the wild with other Whooping Cranes.

On Saturday, January 26th, Jeanette Parker was outside a subdivision bordering the Everglades in south Florida. Jeanette, who had previously worked for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) on a project to reintroduce non-migratory Whooping Cranes to Florida, had found herself back in the field, but this time she was trying to capture an eastern migratory crane that had an injury. Joining her were Steve Baynes and Scott Tidwell of Disney Animal Kingdom.

A long afternoon of phone calls on Friday had brought these crane rescuers together in an attempt to help “Tussock”, the 13th Whooping Crane hatched in the 2012 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) cohort at ICF. It was Tussock’s lucky number indeed; Steve and Scott managed to collect her and deliver her to veterinarians at Disney Animal Kingdom, who successfully treated her injured right toe. She is now convalescing in Orlando, Florida, and we hope to see her released back into the eastern flyway after she is fully rehabilitated.

ICF is so thankful to our partners at FFWCC and Disney Animal Kingdom for their incredible commitment to cranes.

Photo: What do you do when you need to capture an injured crane and don’t have a crane costume? Improvise! Steve Baynes from Disney Animal Kingdom gives a thumbs up after successfully capturing injured Tussock (no. 13-12). Photo by Jeanette Parker