Wildlife

Information

Decline of a Species

In 1941, the entire population of whooping cranes consisted of 21 birds. Many believed the species would become extinct. It did not. The recovery of the whooping crane has become a conservation success story. The species is no longer near extinction but the recovery story spans the better part of a century and will continue long into the future.

The historical range of the whooping crane reached from the Arctic coast to central Mexico. They occupied territory from New Jersey in the east to Utah in the west. During the 19th and 20th centuries, major nesting areas were found in the northern Midwestern states. Wintering grounds included the entire Gulf Coast between Louisiana and the Rio Grande delta in northeastern Mexico. During the 1800s, there was both a western migration route between Louisiana and the Canadian breeding areas and an eastern route that took birds through the Appalachians to the Atlantic Coast before reaching their nesting grounds near Hudson Bay, Canada.

By the mid-19th century, many decades had passed since the whooping crane had been seen on the Atlantic seaboard. The population was estimated to be around 1,300 birds in the 1860s, which declined to approximately 600 individuals by 1870. Between 1890 and 1910 a rapid decline occurred in Midwest migration numbers and on the Louisiana wintering grounds.

By 1941, only 21 birds, in two breeding populations, remained. Six birds remained in a non-migratory colony in southwestern Louisiana. However, no documented reproduction occurred in this colony after 1939, and the population ceased to exist in 1950. The other breeding colony nested in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas and by 1941, reached an all-time population low of 16 individuals. The main cause of this devastating population decline was habitat loss due to wetland drainage, conversion of grassland to agricultural fields and hunting.

Many people had lost hope that this species could persist in the wild. However, a small group of scientists and conservationists made it their mission to save the whooping crane and over the last 60 years, the recovery effort has brought this species back from the brink of extinction 

Whooping Cranes Were Here…History of Whooping Cranes in Louisiana

  • 1890’s. Records indicate “large numbers” of both whooping cranes and sandhill cranes on wet prairies year-round and whooping cranes also used coastal locations in winter.
  • 1890’s-1920. Conversion of prairies to mechanized agriculture leads to both whooping and sandhill crane numbers declining in the prairie region.
  • 1918. 12 whooping cranes shot north of Sweet Lake. Last official record of whooping cranes on the Louisiana prairies.
  • 1930’s. Trappers report whooping crane nesting activity and young in the freshwater marshes north of White Lake.
  • May 1939. Biologist John J. Lynch (U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey (pre USFWS)) sights 13 whooping cranes north of White Lake. Two of the cranes are “young-of-the-year.” This record confirms a resident colony of breeding whooping cranes in Louisiana. This is the last record of the species breeding in the wild in the United States prior to experimental and captive-raised whooping cranes hatching several eggs and fledging chicks starting in 2000 and 2002, respectively.
  • Late 1930’s-early 1940’s. Last records of wintering whooping cranes on southwest Louisiana’s chenier ridges and in brackish and saltwater marshes near the coast.
  • August 1940. Hurricane and flood from associated rainfall scatters the resident White Lake whooping cranes. Only 6 cranes return.
  • November 1941. One of the “lost” cranes of White Lake is found in Evangeline Parish after the storm. She is captured and donated to the Audubon Park Zoo in New Orleans. The bird is named “Josephine;” for many years, she was the only breeding female whooping crane in captivity.
  • 1941-1945. White Lake whooping crane flock loses 1 bird each year...only 2 cranes remain in 1945.
  • 1947. Only 1 whooping crane remains at White Lake.
  • March 1950. John J Lynch and others chase and capture the lone White Lake crane, which is transported to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas.
  • February 2011. Nonessential, experimental population established at White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.

** Based on Louisiana whooping crane chronology compiled by Dr. Gay Gomez, McNeese State University**

Whooping Crane Facts

Grus americana

  • are the tallest N. American bird. Males height reaches up to 5 ft.
  • have a wingspan of up to 7 ft.
  • are all white except for black feathers on the tips of their wings; and have dark olive-gray bills, which lighten in color during breeding season.
  • are cinnamon brown when immature and take on a mottled appearance as their white feather bases begin to extend.
  • live approximately 22-24 years in the wild.
  • are omnivorous. Summer forage includes frogs, fish, rodents, small birds, and berries. Winter feeding centers on blue crabs and clams.
  • form life-long, monogamous pairs, though they will re-pair after the death of mate.
  • make a spring migration to Wood Buffalo National Park in Saskatchewan, Canada. They occupy approximately the same area within the breeding territory each year.
  • share parental duties, such as egg incubation and brood-rearing, between mates.
  • begin an autumn migration in September and reach their Texas Gulf Coast destination by late October or early November.
  • today about 400 whooping cranes survive in three populations in the wild, and about 150 individuals in captivity.

L.D.W.F. Presents Proposed Alligator Regulation Changes to Commission

Release Date: 04/13/2011

April 13, 2011 - The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) adopted a notice of intent April 7 for regulation changes in the Alligator Management Program. The changes, proposed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), provide options relative to alligator skin processing and would allow non-residents owning wetland habitat in Louisiana to obtain harvest tags.

The proposed change for alligator skins, prior to export out of state or prior to tanning in state, would allow for the sale of raw flanks or bellies of alligators and could be helpful when attempting to sell poor quality raw skins.

Concerning issuance of tags to non-residents, current regulations restrict landowners to assisting a resident, licensed alligator trapper during the season. This change would allow for non-residents, who own alligator habitat in Louisiana, to obtain their own tags.

Several other proposed changes/clarifications include: changing application deadlines for tags, addressing disposal of alligator skins deemed of no value, and stipulating that  alligators shall not be cut loose from hooks and lines for any purpose.

To view the full notice of intent and all proposed hunting season dates and regulations changes for the upcoming hunting season, please visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

Public comment will be accepted at the LWFC May 5 meeting or can be submitted to Robert Love, LDWF Coastal and Nongame Resources Division, P. O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA  70898-9000, through June 1, 2011.

For more information, contact Noel Kinler at 337-373-0032 or nkinler@wlf.la.gov.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Access Bridge to Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area Open to the Public

Release Date: 04/11/2011

April 11, 2011 - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has reopened access to Loggy Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) via the Poole Road Bridge following reconstruction of the structure.

The old wooden bridge previously at this location had a three-ton weight limit and had been closed repeatedly over the last several years when high water threatened public safety.

During the summer of 2010, Bossier Parish and Petrohawk Energy entered into an agreement in which the parish provided the design and permitting for the new bridge construction and Petrohawk funded the removal of the old structure and construction of the new bridge.  Construction started on this project in October 2010 and was completed in late March of 2011.  The new bridge is a concrete two-lane bridge that can withstand heavy traffic and will be a noticeable improvement to Loggy Bayou WMA users.

In addition to the new bridge, those using Loggy Bayou WMA will notice significant improvements to other portions of the WMA as well.  Further improvements will be ongoing over the next several months, as an agreement between LDWF and a pipeline company will result in additional road improvements as well as improvements to the boat launch access and parking area. 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) staff worked in conjunction with Petrohawk and its affiliates to develop solutions to allow natural gas exploration activity in Loggy Bayou WMA, while minimizing impacts to the WMA. 

The public is advised that higher than normal traffic is to be expected on the WMA over the next several months due to drilling and completion operations.  Additional road construction and improvement projects will result in extra traffic as well.  Further improvements to the boat launch access road and parking area will result in a short temporary loss of access to the launch at some point when those construction activities take place.  

For more information on Loggy Bayou WMA, contact Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@wlf.la.gov or 318-371-3050.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

Wildlife Rehabilitators

Namesort icon City State Phone Cell Phone Common Name Parish
Andressen, Leah Belle Chasse LA (504) 457-4884 Raccoons ONLY Plaquemines
Armstrong, Janette Shreveport, LA LA 318-218-9649 birds & small mammals (no raccoons) Caddo
Burney, Donna Shreveport LA 318-393-5777 birds, squirrels, reptiles Caddo
Camara, Michelle Una San Antonio TX 210-272-9621 210-825-8961 Mammals, Non-migratory Birds East Baton Rouge
Carollo, Michelle Partridge Pearl River LA 985-445-3644 985-250-0213 Mammals St. Tammany
Compton, Deborah L. Homer LA 318-732-3429 Squirrels Claiborne
Connery, PK Statewide LA 337-393-0205 Bobcats Only—Statewide Rescue Statewide
Daigle, Leah Frances Carencro LA (225)454-5562 All mammals (EXCEPT raccoons) and reptiles Lafayette
Dauzat, Susan Erwinville LA 225-241-5952 squirrels and rabbits West Baton Rouge
Delcambre, Becky New Iberia LA (337)339-1214 Squirrels and Raccoons Iberia
Delger, Jessica Cut Off LA (985)855-1906 Small Mammals Lafourche, Terrebonne
Dixon, Aimee Crowley LA 337-384-8179 Raccoons, Squirrels, Skunks and Opossums Acadia
Franc, Nicoletta Denham Springs LA 225-436-2101 Small Mammals (Squirrels) Livingston
Gabriella Vazquez Metairie LA 504-235-3005 Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Manatees Jefferson
Harris, Deborah Simmons Baton Rouge LA
225-752-2674
225-953-0260
Mammals, some Reptiles (no snakes) East Baton Rouge
Heck, Suzy B. Lake Charles LA (337)477-6129 337-274-8964 All Mammals, Raptors, Waterfowl, Reptiles Calcasieu
James, Carmon Monroe LA (318)366-3748 Small Mammals Ouachita
James, Mandi Deville LA 318-229-3398 Mammals except Opossums Rabbits and Armadillos
Knoll, Sandy Deville LA (318)466-3173 Raccoons Rapides
Leo, Jennifer Gretna LA 504-433-3953 504-975-6562 raccoons and squirrels Jefferson
MacLean, DVM, Dr. Robert, Audubon Zoo New Orleans LA (504)212-5489 (504)329-2471 Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians Orleans
Menchaca, Ashley Gretna LA (504)289-1869 Squirrel, Opossum, Raccoon, and other small mammals Jefferson
Miller, Amy Opelousas LA 337-305-5565 Small mammals, reptiles St. Landry
Moore, Sandra J. Haughton LA (318)390-9063 (318)965-2091wk Small Mammals Bossier
Morgan, Gia DVM WERLA Benton LA 318-405-2282 318-936-4621 Mammals, Birds, Reptiles Caddo
Morgan, Jennifer Bossier City LA 318-423-4530 Squirrels Bossier, Caddo
Murgatroyd, Rhonda Seabrook TX 281-326-0905 (713)705-5897 Oil Spill Response Only
Nevarez,Javier (DVM) Baton Rouge LA (225)578-9600 Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Opossums, Squirrels East Baton Rouge
Onel, Hulya Bossier City LA 318-286-6318 Mammals, herps, song birds, raptors Bossier
Petty, Micha Robert Greenwood LA 318-773-9393 Reptiles and ampibians Caddo
Reed, Lisa Sulphur LA (337)583-4757 (337)842-5830 Birds, Mammals, Raptors Calcasieu
Sandy Knoll Deville LA 318-466-3173 Raccoons, Rabbits, Squirrels, NO OPOSSUMS Rapides
Scarborough, Russell Shreveport LA 318-929-2806 Birds of prey Bossier
Schmalz, Sharon Houston TX 713-861-9453 (281)731-8826 Oil Spill Response Only
Shepherd, Tara Benton LA (318)465-6000 Small Mammals Bossier
Warren, Kimberly Shreveport LA 318-617-4370 Mammals, birds, reptiles Caddo
Winners, Emily Lecompte LA (318)776-5356 (318)613-0219 Squirrels Rapides

State Reinvests $13 Million with Commercial Fishermen

Release Date: 04/04/2011

April 4, 2011 – This month the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in coordination with the Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit (OCD), and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), issued award letters to nearly 1,000 fishermen who were deemed eligible for the Commercial Fisherman Grant Program.  Throughout the month the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry through the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority (LAFA) has been on-site at several locations along the coast conducting grant closings and disbursing funds to eligible fishermen.
“The industry has worked incredibly hard to recover from numerous disasters over the last six years, including hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said LDWF Secretary Robert Barham.  “We are excited to match some of the hard work that the commercial fishing industry has put into bouncing back by issuing grants that help mitigate some of their losses. The full recovery of our coastal communities is tied to the fate of our commercial fishing industry. This is another step towards helping those residents, businesses and communities become whole again.”
“The funds for this program were part of the $27 million the state allocated to Fisheries recovery from the Community Development Block Grants we received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development after hurricanes Gustav and Ike,” said Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater. “From the beginning, we have been committed to helping our fishermen, and this important part of Louisiana’s economy, recover from the effects of the 2008 storms. I’m pleased that this coordinated effort with LDWF and LDAF will bring these much-needed funds to commercial fishermen.”
The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority processed more than 1,250 applications and awarded the money based on losses suffered by the 2008 hurricanes.
“This is a continuation of LAFA’s mission to promote rural economic development,” Strain said. “It’s vital to our economy for our food producers to be profitable. We’re glad to be a part of that.”
The $13 million Commercial Fisherman Grant Program was designed to assist Louisiana fishermen who held a commercial fishing license in 2008 and who remain licensed, continue to recover from the effects of hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.  Individuals were required to provide supporting tax documentation and be able to prove a $5,000 tangible or financial loss in order to qualify for the program.  Applicants were eligible for a grant up to the amount of their loss, not to exceed $100,000. Of the nearly $13 million dollars being disbursed, 95 percent was allocated solely to certified fishermen.
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.
The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.
For more information from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please contact Laura Deslatte at ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov  or at (225)610-2363.  For more information from the Office of Community Development, please contact Christina Stephens at (225) 603-3896 or christina.stephens@la.gov.  For more information from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, please contact Sam Irwin at (225) 922-1256 or sirwin@ldaf.state.la.us.

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