Guest Author – Pete Fasbender
It’s truly a pleasure to work with the passionate, dedicated professionals at Operation Migration and the entire Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. Since the project’s inception, we all have worked hard and made sacrifices with the shared goal of a self-sustaining migratory eastern population of whooping cranes. When we began this, we knew it would be no small task and there was no guarantee of success. The only thing we knew for sure was that it would take an immense partnership, working together toward the shared goal, if we were to have any chance of success.
Because much of the work we do is a “first of its kind thing,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates under an adaptive management strategy. We use the best information we have to develop and implement actions. Then we monitor those actions and adjust as we gain more knowledge. This is one of those moments where we have gained enough knowledge and need to adjust our actions.
The one thing we have never needed to adjust is the value of partnerships. Operation Migration has been an amazing partner. They have helped us reach numerical goals, as well as the social goals. Without their efforts, we would not have the possibility for natural productivity of whooping crane pairs on the landscape, as well as the strong public awareness and passion for our work. This support is absolutely critical.
In this time of adaptation, where we move away from a number of various aspects of the costume-rearing program in order to reach our goal of a self-sustaining population, I look forward to working with Operation Migration into the future and standing beside them to celebrate when we do reach this milestone.
While the Fish and Wildlife Service and Operation Migration agree on the vast majority of issues we contemplated on this project, we differ on the aspect of ultralight led migration. Despite our differences, OM continues to help the Partnership look to the future as we try to mitigate the lack of natural reproductive success of whooping cranes within the Eastern Migratory Population. This, in itself, speaks volumes to the character of Operation Migration staff and supporters – in particular the leadership and vision of Joe Duff.
In the end we all want the same thing – recovery of the whooping crane where birds are raising birds. Let’s keep it going!