Sandhill Crane photo by birdphotos.com
Possible peril for Whooping Cranes?
Mary W.Yandell, of the Kentucky Coalition for Sandhill Cranes, reports this week that the provincial government of Alberta, Canada, after years of hunter lobbying, is seriously considering a Sandhill Crane hunting season for Alberta. Up until now, concern for the safety of the endangered Whooping Crane by conservation groups such as the Alberta Wilderness Association and others working to protect this population has kept the government from moving forward with such a hunt. While the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan already have Sandhill Crane seasons, Environment Canada regulations give wildlife officials the power to prohibit hunting of 'Sandhills' in specific areas where there are Whooping Cranes. Alberta listed the Sandhill Crane as a sensitive species in 2000, 2005 and 2010 on its website. It is not known if that official designation has been altered. The government would have to amend legislation to designate the Sandhill Crane a game bird. The world's only existing group of wild Whooping Cranes migrates twice each year to and from its secluded northern breeding ground in Wood Buffalo National Park, which straddles the Alberta and Northwest Territories border. That migration route runs through the entire length of Alberta. The wintering ground is at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. There is no rest for those who keep the vigil.
Whooping Crane photo by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
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