Ten whooping cranes, the most endangered species of crane in the world, will be reintroduced in a Louisiana conservation area more than 60 years after the birds’ numbers dwindled to near zero, the U.S. Interior Department said on Tuesday.
“The whooping crane is an iconic species that should be returned and restored to health along the Gulf Coast,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. “The reintroduction of these remarkable birds will be a milestone moment for the Gulf Coast.”
Whooping cranes — named for their loud, trumpeting call — are the world’s most endangered species of crane and are only found in North America.
The total population, once believed to have numbered more than 15,000, fell to just 15 birds in the 1940s as a result of hunting and habitat loss, according to the National Wildlife Federation.