Rare whooping cranes raised for wild as COVID rules relax

By JANET McCONNAUGHEY Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Work to raise the world's rarest cranes for release into the wild is back in gear.

Last year, pandemic precautions all but halted captive rearing of endangered whooping crane chicks.

This year, 14 long-legged chicks are following their parents or costumed surrogate parents in facilities from New Orleans to Calgary, Canada.

Whooping cranes are white with black wingtips and red caps, and at 5 feet high are the tallest bird in North America.

Last year, zoos and other places where the endangered birds are bred had to cut staff and reduce or eliminate use of artificial insemination and of having people in shape-disguising costumes raise chicks.

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