1000 Whoopers – The Magic of The Cranes
Considered “mystical” in Japanese culture, the crane holds special significance. Traditionally, a Senbazuru, an origami sculpture representing a thousand cranes, is given at special occasions such as weddings and the birth of a child. Representing happiness, a long life, peace, and heavenly messengers, the sculptures stand as powerful symbols.
Just watching the wild Whooping Cranes of North America helps to explain how the crane developed this position of reverence and respect. The tallest bird in North America, the Whooping Crane reflects the majesty of nature. It is a world natural heritage found in North America and must be preserved for future generations to enjoy.
With all the work that has been done to revitalize this species, we still could not celebrate with a “Thousand” Whooping Cranes today. But through hard work, dedication and support, we have made important progress. Starting from a low of 16 birds in the 1940’s, the world’s total population of Whooping Cranes in the wild now numbers around 400. Over 70% of these wild cranes are associated with the Aransas-Wood Buffalo population and are the subject of this Executive Summary.
The harsh reality is that this species of highly endangered cranes is vulnerable at any given time to both human and naturally occurring threats during its annual life cycle. If the population is to continue to expand, it is mandatory that we take multiple strategic actions now to preserve the future for our North American Whooping Crane.