Results of the long awaited distance sampling survey carried out to estimate the number of Whooping cranes in the only naturally occurring flock were released on February 15th. We’ve heard from a good number of supporters and craniacs and the general consensus is one of disappointment.
The new counting method puts the population total for the Wood Buffalo-Aransas flock at 279 (257 on the Aransas Refuge and 22 scattered inland). Tom Stehn’s final count — where under his method, each crane was counted, took place in 2010-2011 and resulted in a peak number of 283 cranes.
How can it be that two years later and following two seasons of above average nest production at Canada’s remote Wood Buffalo National Park that the population dropped?
To read more reaction please read David Sikes article in the Corpus Christi Caller Times.