Parks Canada celebrates 50 years of Whooping Crane Conservation

International partnership bringing species at risk back from brink of extinction

FORT SMITH, NT, Dec. 2nd, 2016 /CNW/ - Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world, and is a recognized world leader in conservation.

The 2016 nesting survey from the Wood Buffalo-Aransas flock showed that 45 new whooping crane chicks were born in Wood Buffalo National Park during the 2016 breeding season, the third highest number of chicks on record. One nesting pair even raised a family of twins, an uncommon occurrence for whooping cranes. Since its inception, this international partnership has witnessed the Wood Buffalo-Aransas flock grow from only 48 birds, to 329 in 2016. Today, the cranes are healthy and reproducing at a reassuring rate.

Parks Canada and its partners, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), are celebrating 50 years of whooping crane conservation at Wood Buffalo National Park. This international conservation partnership began in 1966 when the fragile state of the world's last whooping crane flock brought Canadian and American partners together to share their knowledge and work on joint species recovery efforts. This example of successful international stewardship is a model for cooperation amongst conservation groups in the preservation of endangered species that cross international borders.  

Today, the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team oversees the cranes' recovery. This group, made up of national, provincial, territorial, and state wildlife authorities and non-government organizations, works to preserve the ecological integrity of crane habitat, identify potential threats to the cranes, and foster research that builds a greater understanding of the species.


"The Government of Canada is committed to preserving our national parks and contributing to the recovery of species-at-risk. There is much to celebrate in the progress that has been made over the past 50 years in the recovery of this beautiful and iconic bird and I am very proud Canada's role in this international conservation effort. I applaud Parks Canada and its partners, both domestically and in the US, for their on-going efforts to save this species-at-risk."

Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

  • Whooping cranes are North America's tallest bird species. They nest and fledge in Wood Buffalo National Park in the spring and winter in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. They travel 5500 kilometres between their summer and winter habitats.
  • Wood Buffalo National Park was established in 1922 to protect the last remaining herds of wood bison in northern Canada. Today, it protects an outstanding and representative example of Canada's Northern Boreal Plains. Situated on the boundary of northeastern Alberta and the southern Northwest Territories, it is the largest national park in Canada.

Associated Links

Species at Risk - Whooping Crane

Nature Canada - Species Spotlight: Whooping Cranes

Wood Buffalo National Park

SOURCE Parks Canada

Image with caption: "A photo from the 2016 whooping crane chick survey in Wood Buffalo National Park shows crane parents with their twin chicks. Raising twins is uncommon for whooping cranes, who usually lay two eggs but raise only one chick. (CNW Group/Parks Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Media Relations, Parks Canada Agency, 855-862-1812,


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