In observance of the tenth anniversary of Endangered Species Day, Whooping Cranes will “vanish” from their exhibits at the International Crane Foundation. Their implied disappearance is meant to highlight the growing need to save endangered species from extinction.
In 2009, 23 Whooping Cranes (nearly 10% of the world’s population) died when their fresh water source was diverted along the coast of Texas. Today, Jim Blackburn, the attorney fighting on behalf of the Whooping Cranes, shared this touching original poem with our team. Now we share it with you and wish you a very happy Earth Day!
Only two weeks after the announcement of a tragic Whooping Crane shooting in Louisiana this fall, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) have announced the recent death of a Whooping Crane in Texas, also due to a shooting.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has declined The Aransas Project’s (TAP) request to re-consider the Court’s June decision to overturn a 2013 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Janis Jack, which concluded that Whooping Cranes, as an Endangered species, should be considered when decisions are made about water removal from the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers that nourish coastal Texas Whooping Crane habitat.
In June we basked in another glorious Evening with the Cranes – how delightful to stroll our site with friends and supporters, and feast in local flavors, regional wines, and prairies in peak bloom. As with our big Anniversary Gala last year in Milwaukee, we are learning how to throw a good party in honor of all of you who make our work possible.
The International Crane Foundation is disappointed that earlier this week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that mandated fresh-water inflows to Whooping Crane habitat on the Texas coast. The three judge panel held that legal aspects of the Endangered Species Act were misapplied in the lower court decision, when it found that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was liable for the deaths of 23 Whooping Cranes in 2008-2009.
I would have failed photography school. Whenever I find myself in the exotic crane places of the world, I am flanked by photographers who are able to capture the elegance and excitement – the pure charisma – of cranes in the most breathtaking ways. My camera, however, tends to focus less on the dramatic beauty and more on the menacing threats to the crane world. A Blue Crane roosting under a big, ugly powerline – click! A Wattled Crane struggling to feed on a parched, dusty floodplain – snap!
Late February brought me to Texas to attend three evening functions in Houston and then to participate in the Whooping Crane Festival in Port Aransas, beside the Gulf of Mexico about 200 miles southwest of Houston.
ICF is concerned about the Kirby Inland Marine oil spill that occurred in Galveston Bay, Texas on March 22. If prevailing winds and currents drive the oil spill southwest along the Texas coast, there may be a possible landfall of spilled oil along Matagorda Island and adjacent bays later this week. This could potentially put the endangered Whooping Crane at risk.
Wow, what a time we had! From Heather Henson’s thrilling Celebration of Flight, to Dr. Jane Goodall’s inspiring words for the conservation leaders of tomorrow, our 40th Anniversary Gala stirred the heart. Whether you joined us in Milwaukee, or in spirit, each of you — our sponsors, members, supporters, and partners — made possible the wonderful achievements we honored.