Recipe for Success

A wildlife reintroduction is a combination of science and actually working with the animals. One without the other has a very limited chance of success. Population Viability Analysis, habitat management techniques and energetics studies can tell us where, when and how to reintroduce an endangered species but without the funding and the actual labor, it is nothing more than a paper plan. On the obverse of that coin, basing a project on speculation, opinion and best guess will also likely fail, unless of course you get very lucky.

WCEP goes to lengthy efforts to combine both of those areas of expertise which is why we have come so close to reaching our target. There have been many setbacks – like the Florida storm that killed 17 of the ultralight cranes in February of 2007, or the DAR birds that failed to migrate in 2013 and perished in the cold, or the unanticipated population of blackflies that cause nest abandonments at Necedah. Still we have had far more successes than failures and those challenges added to our knowledge and led to revised techniques.

Operation Migration is long on experience, innovation and dedication but until recently, short of scientific credibility. Our team includes a deep sea diver, a sculptor and a photographer, along with a nuclear engineer, a fund development/IT expert and a top level executive, but no biologists or environmental scientists at least until now. On August 1st Jeff Fox joined the Operation Migration team.

Jeff has worked with Sandhill cranes for almost eight years. As part of his doctoral studies he has captured, tagged and monitored over two hundred individual birds. To do that he developed a night lighting rig that has a backpack mounted generator, powerful spot light and white sound that conceals his approach. He regularly worked all night tracking cranes, while they roosted with no ill effects. The data he collected was logged into spreadsheets that are reminiscent of the Chicago phone book.

Jeff brings enthusiasm, expertise and fresh eyes to the team and we are excited to have him. Now we need to teach him to fly…

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  1. Alvin September 29, 2015 1:28 am

    Very useful article, it increases the spirit and confidence in me. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Kathkeen Kaska September 28, 2015 11:50 am

    Welcome, Jeff. You’ve joined and incredible team!

  3. Dorothy N September 28, 2015 9:01 am

    It’s amazing what the OM team has accomplished given the varied and shall-I-say Odd backgrounds of much of the staff. Goes to show you that intelligence and dedication can go a long way, especially when combined with good teamwork.

  4. Jillbru September 28, 2015 7:02 am

    Well WOO HOO Jeff! Big welcome to you!

  5. Margie Tomlinson September 28, 2015 6:43 am

    Great news, Joe! I think I can speak for all of us other Craniacs by saying “Welcome aboard, Jeff! We’re really glad to have you as a part of the OM Team!” Wonderful report, too, Joe. Thank you!

  6. Richard P. Chase September 28, 2015 6:06 am

    … and dance? 😉