Coronavirus means few young whooping cranes for fall release


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic is drastically cutting the number of young whooping cranes to be released this fall to boost flocks of the world’s rarest cranes.

Zoos and other places where the endangered birds are bred have reduced staffs and use of two techniques to increase chick numbers. One is artificial insemination.

The other is having people in baggy costumes raise chicks to keep the birds from viewing humans as their parents.

Only about 825 whoopers exist.

Biologists are trying to establish a flock in Louisiana and one that migrates from Wisconsin to Florida to supplement the only natural flock, which breeds in Canada and winters in Texas.  

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