CALGARY, April 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's Environment Minister, the Honourable Peter Kent, announced today that he has approved a one-year funding agreement with the Calgary Zoo for their Whooping Crane captive-breeding program. The Government of Canada is contributing $20,000 to the program.
"Efforts to establish flocks of captive-bred Whooping Cranes like the program here at the Calgary Zoo are critical to help ensure the persistence of the species," said Minister Kent. "We are pleased to work with the zoo to bring back this iconic species."
Canada is home to the world's largest migratory population of Whooping Cranes. The population fell to only 14 adult birds early in the last century, at which point Whooping Cranes were close to extinction.
Collaborative conservation efforts in Canada and the United States including habitat protection, ongoing monitoring and research have helped the recovery of Whooping Cranes and resulted in continued population increases. Today, there are almost 300 birds in the migratory Wood Buffalo National Park flock.
Past support from Environment Canada and the Husky Energy Endangered Species Program have allowed the Calgary Zoo's Centre for Conservation Research to develop innovations that improve the hatching success of Whooping Crane eggs. Captive breeding efforts of the Calgary Zoo and United States partners have also yielded more than 100 birds in three distinct wild flocks in the United States.
"As the only breeding facility in Canada participating in the reintroduction efforts for these amazing birds, we are proud of the contribution the Calgary Zoo has made over the past two decades towards securing a future for Whooping Cranes in North America," said Dr. Clément Lanthier, zoo president and CEO. "This support from the federal government will help continue this important work."
The Whooping Crane is a flagship species in the North American conservation movement and symbolizes the struggle for survival that characterizes many endangered species worldwide. Whooping Cranes are classified as endangered under the Species at Risk Act and are also protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
SOURCE: Environment Canada
For further information:
Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Media Relations
Office of the Minister of the Environment
Environment Canada's Twitter page: http://twitter.com/environmentca
Environment Canada's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/environmentcan
(Également offert en français)