My wife and I recently received the February issue of the International Crane Foundation's newsletter, THE ICF BUGLE. It obviously went to press before the tornados tore through Central Florida and killed all but one of the eighteen juvenile Whooping Cranes which the ICF has led down to Florida with Ultra-Lite aircraft. The headline on the front page is titled REASON TO CELEBRATE. The text on the front page reads as follows:
"The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (WCEP) celebrated another success this year when the "First Family" arrived at their winter territory in Florida. Whooping Crane number W1-06 is the first wild-hatched chick in the eastern migratory population and the first to complete the fall migration by following her parents, numbers 11-02 and 17-02. The family began migration from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin on November 19, and remained at their first migration stop in Vermillion County, Indiana, until they resumed migration on December 7. Two days later they arrived at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge pensite in Florida where they stayed to roost. On December 10, they left the refuge and flew to the winter territory of numbers 11-02 and 17-02.
This one event is what all of us involved in the reintroduction project have been working towards -- the countless hours, achievements, disappointments and frustrations, along with time away from family and friends have led to this milestone in endangered species recovery."And then the tornados came barreling through the area.
I became a contributor to ICF as a result of last fall's WLA Convention in Wisconsin Dells. One of the side-benefits of the conference was the opportunity to tour the ICF's international headquarters in Baraboo. I was totally impressed with what this organization is doing. I enjoyed seeing many different crane species, including some whooping cranes. I can't imagine the emotional devastation that the staff felt when almost all of their migrating birds were destroyed in the storm.
I thank WLA for giving me the opportunity to see firsthand what the Crane Foundation is doing, enabling me to help fund their activities, in a miniscule way. This is a great Wisconsin-based operation. Go to their website www.savingcranes.org
and see what they do. This is a group worthy of your support. When faced with an almost impossible situation, they didn't wring their hands but found a unique way to reverse the pending species extermination that man's activities had caused, and were leading the Whoopers back from the brink. Help them!