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July 28, 2016 Calgary Zoo

Securing A Future For North America’s Tallest Bird

Whooping Cranes at the Calgary Zoo Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre.

The whooping crane is a flagship species in the North American conservation movement and symbolizes the struggle for survival that characterizes many endangered species worldwide.

These birds start off tiny but they eventually grow up to be North America’s tallest bird!

Whooping Crane born at the Calgary Zoo Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre in 2015.

Whooping Crane born at the Calgary Zoo Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre in 2015.

There are only 400 of these graceful birds alive in the wild, but that’s a big increase from the 1940s when the number of cranes in the world dipped to only 21 individuals.

Each year the fertile eggs laid at our breeding facility at the Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre (DWCC) will be shipped to the U.S. to be hatched as part of the U.S./Canada recovery plan. As the only breeding facility in Canada participating in the reintroduction efforts for these amazing birds, we are proud of the contribution we have made over the past two decades towards securing a future for whooping cranes.

Did You Know?

  • The Calgary Zoo has been a part of the captive breeding program for whooping cranes since 1989.
  • The zoo uses tools such as artificial insemination, incubators and artificial eggs to make sure that every crane egg has the best chance of hatching.
  • Calgary Zoo inspire members have the opportunity to visit the Devonian Wildlife Conservation Centre each fall.

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Comment (1)

  1. arnold Murray

    It is facinating to read of the success of the breeding program. I moved to Grande Prairie Alberta in 1956. There was a man with a car top canoe who was involved in Whooping Crane conservation and nearby Saskatoon Lake was one of the nesting spots . I believe there were only thirty birds know to exist at thet time. The Whooping Crane is the emblem of Grande Prairie because of its involvement in the early conservation efforts.

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