Last month my brother Sammy (aka Dr. Sammy King) gave a presentation at the Louisiana Hiking Club meeting about the Whooping Crane restoration project. This happy story is one my brother loves to talk about. There’s just so much devastation to wildlife going on in the world that people love to hear a happy story – especially when it’s in their own back yard.
I had never heard the whole Whooping Crane story, so I was very excited to hear it. One day long ago, I called my brother during the work day, and I asked him what he was doing. “Banding cranes,” he answered. I’m sitting at my 9-to-5 desk breathing office air and watching the clock until quittin’ time. I could see him standing in a swamp banding cranes while he answers his cell phone on what he’d call a regular day at the office. I, of course, could feel the jealousy wash over me and wished I had a job where I could make a difference like that AND be outdoors. That was the first I’d heard of his involvement with the reintroduction of the Whooping Cranes.
He has since rolled off the project but, of course, is still very involved with those who are on it. The reintroduction includes the hopeful reestablishment of a migrating population of Whooping Cranes and the restoration of a Louisiana resident population. Below is a story from 2014 about some of the issues they’ve had with the reintroduction.
At Sammy’s report last month, he said they have a resident population here but for several years the eggs they laid did not hatch. He showed us a pic of this pair of Whooping Cranes that were nesting at a crawfish farm, and they were hopeful they would have chicks this year. Guess what??? We have twins!!! In the last couple of days, two eggs have hatched, and we have two live chicks. I’m so freaking excited about this. You can read more about the chicks here.
Just last week our new Governor John Bel Edwards signed an Executive Order that the funds for the Coastal Master Plan be protected so they would not be used to plug holes in our hemorrhaging state budget. It was the happiest day I’d had in a long time. Since I’ve come here I’ve been so saddened by the apathy people have about the destruction of our environment by industry and poor engineering. Katrina was so destructive because the marsh and our protective natural barriers are gone. She hit full force. It will only get worse.
Even worse, in my opinion, is that we are raping this state of its natural resources so fast that the next generation will be left with a stinkhole. Whether you like swamps or not, they are rich natural resources that support an unbelievable amount of wildlife and plants that are valuable for more than just consumption. Even though my job is on the line because of the budget issues we have, I would consider it a meaningful sacrifice to trade it for an investment in the beautiful coast that we could have with a little love and care. And I really mean that. I can move. The wildlife and marsh we have here can’t move an inch. It can only die.
So, right now, I’m feeling a little happier. My step is a little lighter. My hopes for Louisiana are growing a bit brighter. We have two Whooping Crane babies that might stand a chance of surviving, and just maybe their grandchildren will have a lovely coast to fly over and raise their Whooping Crane grandchildren. Call me a tree-hugging liberal if you like… I’m a proud tree-hugging liberal today. Now, excuse me, while I go out and hug a tree.
If you want to follow the progress of the cranes, they have their own Facebook Page.