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LEEC eNews Bulletin: Second Louisiana Whooping Crane Egg Hatches


Image of 2013 crane nest taken by Michael Seymour

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Sara Zimorski confirmed that a live chick hatched on April 13, 2016 from the second egg produced by whooping crane mating pair L6-12 & L8-13. This comes just two days after the proud parents welcomed their first hatchling. While the second hatch is certainly a hopeful sign, research suggests that its rare for two to survive. 

 

Louisiana currently has 42 fully-fledged whooping cranes, thanks to a reintroduction program begun in 2011. At last count there were only about 450 whooping cranes in the wild, and only about 600 total, leading the National Audubon Society to call it one of America's most endangered birds.

 

For more information on Louisiana whooping cranes, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.

Louisiana Welcomes Whooping Crane Hatchling

 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) scored a huge victory in its effort to reintroduce endangered whooping cranes to their historic range in south Louisiana when the first chick in 75 years hatched in Jefferson Davis Parish on April 11.
 
LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon congratulated his staff on achieving this milestone after more than five years of hard work, saying, “The ultimate goal is to establish a self-sustaining whooping crane population in Louisiana so that this beautiful bird can thrive for generations to come. The first chick hatched here is a step in that direction.’’
 
The last documented hatch in Louisiana occurred in 1939 and the last living Louisiana native whooping crane, a lone adult male called “Mac,” was transported to a Texas refuge in the spring of 1950. 
 
With the exception of the new hatchling, all whooping cranes in Louisiana today are individuals released into the wild by LDWF staff at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish. The reintroduction project, begun in 2011, is a partnership among LDWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. 
 
LDWF staff receive, rear and release yearly cohorts of 10 to 15 juvenile birds hatched at a USGS facility in Maryland, then monitor their progress as they move on occupy Louisiana’s wetlands. To date, the reintroduced population numbers 43 whooping cranes. 
 
“This is something we’ve been looking forward to and anticipating since the reintroduction began in 2011,’’ said LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski, who leads the Louisiana whooping crane project. “One of the major steps in restoring the species is successful reproduction. We’ve had several pairs nesting the last couple of years but until now no favorable outcomes. It’s an exciting time for us and all of our partners who have worked so hard alongside us.”
 
Whooping cranes were historically present in Louisiana wetlands in great abundance as late as the 1890s, but over-hunting and repurposing of native habitat led to a precipitous decline in population. By the middle of the 20th century they had disappeared completely from our landscape. 
 
Humans remain the greatest threat to whooping cranes today. As recently as January of this year, two birds released in Louisiana were shot in east Texas. A number of others have been proven or suspected to be shot since the reintroduction project began. Relatively few individuals have succumbed to natural causes, including predation and disease.
 
Anyone who encounters a whooping crane in the wild is advised to observe the bird from a distance and encouraged to report the sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form).
 

LEEC eNews Bulletin: Louisiana Welcomes Whooping Crane Hatchling

 
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) scored a huge victory in its effort to reintroduce endangered whooping cranes to their historic range in south Louisiana when the first chick in 75 years hatched in Jefferson Davis Parish on April 11.
 
LDWF Secretary Charlie Melancon congratulated his staff on achieving this milestone after more than five years of hard work, saying, “The ultimate goal is to establish a self-sustaining whooping crane population in Louisiana so that this beautiful bird can thrive for generations to come. The first chick hatched here is a step in that direction.’’
 
The last documented hatch in Louisiana occurred in 1939 and the last living Louisiana native whooping crane, a lone adult male called “Mac,” was transported to a Texas refuge in the spring of 1950. 
 
With the exception of the new hatchling, all whooping cranes in Louisiana today are individuals released into the wild by LDWF staff at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish. The reintroduction project, begun in 2011, is a partnership among LDWF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. 
 
LDWF staff receive, rear and release yearly cohorts of 10 to 15 juvenile birds hatched at a USGS facility in Maryland, then monitor their progress as they move on occupy Louisiana’s wetlands. To date, the reintroduced population numbers 43 whooping cranes. 
 
“This is something we’ve been looking forward to and anticipating since the reintroduction began in 2011,’’ said LDWF biologist Sara Zimorski, who leads the Louisiana whooping crane project. “One of the major steps in restoring the species is successful reproduction. We’ve had several pairs nesting the last couple of years but until now no favorable outcomes. It’s an exciting time for us and all of our partners who have worked so hard alongside us.”
 
Whooping cranes were historically present in Louisiana wetlands in great abundance as late as the 1890s, but over-hunting and repurposing of native habitat led to a precipitous decline in population. By the middle of the 20th century they had disappeared completely from our landscape. 
 
Humans remain the greatest threat to whooping cranes today. As recently as January of this year, two birds released in Louisiana were shot in east Texas. A number of others have been proven or suspected to be shot since the reintroduction project began. Relatively few individuals have succumbed to natural causes, including predation and disease.
 
Anyone who encounters a whooping crane in the wild is advised to observe the bird from a distance and encouraged to report the sighting to LDWF (http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/webform/whooping-crane-reporting-form).
 

Hessmer Man Sentenced for Downed Trees on Spring Bayou WMA

Release Date: 04/12/2016

A Hessmer man was sentenced on April 11 in 12th Judicial District Court in Avoyelles Parish for his part in the cutting down of trees on the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Judge William Bennett sentenced Keith Savoy, 49, to serve two years in jail suspended, to pay $15,000 in civil restitution to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), $2,500 fine, $750 for the cost of prosecution and $400 in court costs.  Savoy was also given five years of probation during which time he will not be allowed on any Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and not allowed to possess recreational hunting or fishing licenses.

Savoy also leased land where he had a hunting camp on the Avoyelles Parish School Board Property, which is adjacent to Spring Bayou WMA.  Savoy has until July 1, 2016 to remove any property and then will not be allowed on school board property during the time of his probation.

Savoy was found guilty on March 2 for simple criminal damage to property with the value of damage being between $500 and $50,000.  Savoy cut over 100 trees in the northeast corner of Spring Bayou WMA to block navigable access to an area known as the “fields” where he regularly hunted.

Avoyelles District Attorney Charles Riddle and Assistant District Attorney Tony Salario prosecuted the case.

LDWF enforcement agents arrested Savoy on March 6, 2014 at his residence for criminal damage to state property after a four month investigation.

The trees Savoy cut down ranged from 10 inches to 30 inches in diameter and up to 50 foot tall including cypress, oak and willow trees.

Agents involved in the case are Lt. John Volentine, Sgts. Gabe Guidry, Chad Watts and Bear Fletcher, and Senior Agents Doug Anderson Jr., Jay Callegari, Heath Wood, Kurt Hatten, Dale Wheat, Kenny Robertson and John Hattaway.  Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew Smith and Detective Jeremiah Honea also assisted in the case.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Boating Incident In Gulf Leads to Fatality

Release Date: 04/06/2016

A single boat incident in the Gulf of Mexico south of Cameron Parish led to the death of a 19 year old man this morning, April 6.

Search and rescue crews from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), Vermillion Parish Sheriff’s Office, Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard were notified of two missing boaters last night, April 5.  Search crews searched throughout the night and into the morning.

The search crews found Shane Marin, 19, of St. Martin Parish, and Derek Romero, 19, of Iberia Parish, around 9:30 a.m. in the water near their partially sunken 18 foot aluminum boat about 10 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the way back to shore where Acadian Ambulance was standing by, LDWF agents performed CPR on Romero as he didn’t have a pulse.  Agents arrived with the men to the shore at Joseph’s Harbor at the Rockefeller Refuge around 9:50 a.m. and continued to assist Acadian Ambulance and other search and rescue crews with CPR until the Air Medivac arrived on scene around 10:45 a.m.

Romero was air lifted to South Cameron Hospital where he was later pronounced dead around noon.  Marin was taken to Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and is in stable condition.

Both men were found wearing a personal flotation device.  LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident.  The cause of death and why the boat sunk is not yet known.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

St. Landry Parish Man Cited For Fishing Violations

Release Date: 03/30/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a St. Landry Parish man for allegedly taking over twice the daily limit of black bass on the afternoon of March 16.

Agents cited Issac Godeaux, 42, of Krotz Springs, for possessing over the limit of black bass.  Agents found Godeaux in possession of 21 black bass on Two’O’Clock Bayou in St. Landry Parish.  The limit on black bass in Louisiana State waters is 10 black bass per person per day.

Possessing over the limit of black bass brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Godeaux may also face a total of $147 in civil restitution for the replacement value of the 11 illegally taken bass.

Agents participating in the case are Senior Agent David Boudreaux and Sgt. Lance Devillier.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Nine Subjects Cited for Turkey Hunting Violations During Opening Weekend

Release Date: 03/29/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement agents cited nine people for alleged turkey hunting violations during the opening weekend of the 2016 turkey hunting season.  Turkey season opened on March 26 statewide.

On March 26 agents cited the following for hunting turkeys over a baited area:

Brian C. Whitlow, 31, of Rosedale, cited in West Feliciana Parish;
Bryan R. Mix, 36, of Greenwell Springs, cited in West Feliciana Parish;
Michael T. Campanella, 29, of Prairieville, cited in West Feliciana Parish;
Jared C. Browning, 36, of St. Francisville, cited in West Feliciana Parish;
William J. Anderson, 37, of Clinton, cited in East Feliciana Parish;
Kim Costello, 49, of Chalmette, cited in St. Helena Parish;
Jewel Armstrong Jr., 59, of Gilbert, cited in Jackson Parrish;
Seaborn R. Aycock, 73, of Flora, Miss., cited in Claiborne Parish.

Anderson was also cited for possession of an illegally taken turkey and failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations.  Aycock was also cited for hunting without a non-resident turkey license and failing to possess turkey tags.

Agents also cited Robert Brown, 24, of Eldorado, Ark., on March 26 on the Bodcau Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Bossier Parish for turkey hunting without non-resident basic, big game and turkey licenses and without a WMA hunting permit.

According to the 2016 Turkey Regulations no person shall hunt or take turkeys by the aid of baiting or on or over a baited area.  Hunters are not allowed to place, expose, deposit or scatter corn, wheat or other grain, salt or other feed to lure turkeys to their hunting area.

Also, turkey hunters are required to possess Louisiana basic hunting and big game licenses, Louisiana wild turkey license and turkey tags.

Hunting turkeys over a baited area brings a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.  Possession of an illegally taken turkey during an open season carries a $500 to $750 fine and 15 to 30 days in jail.  Failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Not possessing nonresident basic, big game and turkey licenses, turkey tags and WMA permit each brings a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

Anderson may also face up to $1,539 in civil restitution charges for the replacement value of the illegally taken turkey.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

Louisiana Man Cited for Turkey Hunting Violations

Release Date: 03/28/2016

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents in a joint investigation with Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) officers cited a Louisiana man on March 23 for alleged turkey hunting violations in Washington Parish.

LDWF agents cited Joshua Seal, 24, of Angie, for criminal trespassing, taking a turkey during a closed season and failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations.

Agents were notified by MDWFP officers about Seal illegally hunting turkeys in Mississippi and Louisiana on March 19.  LDWF agents conducted an investigation and discovered that Seal illegally took a turkey in Louisiana on private property that he did not have permission to be on just off of Jerry Moses Rd. near Angie. The turkey season in Louisiana didn’t start until March 26.

Seal then took the Louisiana harvested turkey into Mississippi to make it look like he killed the turkey in Mississippi where the season was ongoing when he was discovered by MDWFP officers.

Taking a turkey during a closed season brings a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 day in jail.  Failing to comply with turkey tagging regulations carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail.  Criminal trespassing brings a $100 to $500 fine and up to 30 days in jail.  Seal may also face civil restitution totaling $1,539 for the replacement value of the illegally taken turkey.

Louisiana agents involved in the case are Sgt. Darryl Galloway, Sgt. Toby Miller and Senior Agent Lee Davis.  Mississippi officers involved are Master Sgt. Mike Jones and Corporals Jacob Brumfield and Michael Pounds.

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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Boating Education Lagniappe Day Slated for April 23

Release Date: 03/23/2016

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be hosting the sixth annual "Boating Education Lagniappe Day" on April 23 at nine different locations across the state.

During Boating Education Lagniappe Day, LDWF will provide instructors for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, NASBLA boating education certification, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

LDWF urges the public to register quickly as most places have limited spaces available and registration is on a first come first serve basis.  To register please visit www.wlf.louisiana.gov/boating/courses and follow the links to register for one of the nine April 23 classes.

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification card.

Below is the list of class locations:

Bossier City
Academy Sports & Outdoors - Bossier City
2801 Beene Blvd.
Sponsor is Academy Sports & Outdoors of Bossier City

West Monroe
Academy Sports & Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
Sponsors include the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association (LWAA) and Academy Sports & Outdoors of West Monroe

Alexandria
Academy Sports & Outdoors
3205 South MacArthur Dr.
Sponsor is Academy Sports & Outdoors of Alexandria

Opelousas
St. Landry Lumber
207 North Railroad Ave.
Sponsors include Wal-Mart of Eunice, Raising Canes and LWAA

Deridder
Beauregard Parish Sheriff's Office Training Center
412 Bolivar Bishop Dr.
Sponsor is the Beauregard Parish Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited

Raceland
Lafourche Parish Sheriff Office Rifle Range
3451 Hwy. 182
Sponsors include the LWAA and Renovations Marine of Cut Off.

Amite
Tangipahoa Parish Library
204 NE Central Ave.
Sponsor is LWAA

Gonzales
Cabelas of Gonzales
2200 West Cabelas Parkway
Sponsors include Cabelas and Louisiana Waterway Safety

Madisonville
St. Tammany Parish Library Madisonville Branch
1123 Main Street
Sponsors include LWAA

For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or aeinck@wlf.la.gov.

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