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Are You My Mother? Unique Ways to Raise and Release Whooping Cranes Into the Wild
Endangered Whooping Cranes were once almost extinct. Through many conservation efforts and reintroductions, there are now over 800 of them in the world. This total includes two reintroduced populations in areas where Whooping Cranes once called home. But how did they get there? Learn about some of the innovative ways we raise Whooping Cranes in captivity and how we release them into the wetlands of Wisconsin and Louisiana.

Sep 24, 2020 11:00 AM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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Eva Szyszkoski
Wildlife Technician @Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Eva Szyszkoski went to Michigan Technological University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in General Biology. Shortly after graduation in the spring of 2007, she started working with the Whooping Crane Eastern Migratory Population reintroduction as a Direct Autumn Release intern with the US. Fish and Wildlife Service. She remained with that project, becoming a tracking intern and then the tracking field manager with the International Crane Foundation. In June 2015, she moved to Louisiana and began working on the non-migratory Whooping Crane reintroduction project in the southwest part of the state.
Hillary Thompson
North America Program Crane Analyst @International Crane Foundation
Hillary Thompson grew up in central Wisconsin, with cranes calling outside her country home. She left the nest and spread her wings at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she earned a B.S. in Zoology, Conservation Biology and Scandinavian Studies. From there, she migrated out west and studied a variety of species and ecosystems. She returned to her home state of Wisconsin to do a Crane Research Internship at the International Crane Foundation and has been studying cranes ever since. She earned her M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Clemson University, studying the wintering habitat of Whooping Cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population. Now she is a biologist studying reintroduced Whooping Cranes for the International Crane Foundation’s North America Program. Hillary coordinates monitoring of Whooping Cranes throughout the flyway and works with interns, volunteers and partner organizations to help us understand how we can help Whooping Cranes.
Marianne Wellington
Chick Rearing Supervisor and Senior Aviculturist @International Crane Foundation
Marianne Wellington started at the International Crane Foundation in the mid-1980s as an intern with both the Education and Aviculture Departments. Due to the timing, she is fortunate to have raised all species of crane chicks except the Black Crowned Crane, which she is anxiously awaiting to do. Bridging the gap between captivity and the field has been one of Marianne's many interests, which has allowed her to learn about raising a variety of crane species using different techniques to help reduce imprinting on human caretakers and for release: Sandhills, Sarus, Red-crowned, Siberian and Whooping Cranes. She is grateful, however, that someone else has taken the lead in sewing the costumes – thanks to the many seamstresses who have helped us!