Response Statement - Whooping Crane
Canada is home to 100% of the naturally-occurring global breeding population of this species. Although never common, its population dipped to only 14 adult birds early in the last century, at which point the species was at the brink of extinction. Conservation efforts in Canada and the U.S. not only rescued the remnant population from extinction, but later resulted in population increases. To help ensure persistence of the species, efforts to establish wild flocks of captive-bred individuals outside Canada have been underway for several decades. Nevertheless, Canada’s breeding population is still very small and is confined to a limited breeding area and only one wintering location. This situation exposes it to catastrophic natural events (e.g. droughts, hurricanes) and a variety of ongoing anthropogenic threats (e.g. loss and degradation of coastal wetland habitats on the wintering grounds, oil spills in coastal areas, and collisions with power lines and structures during migration). Last, because of delayed sexual maturity and a naturally low annual reproductive output, this species has an inherently weak capacity to rebound from pressures that reduce survivorship or reproductive success.
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