Photo by USFWS

A Model for Whooping Crane Conservation in the Dakotas

The whooping crane is a federally endangered species that relies on land in North and South Dakota to help meet its energy needs during migration and reproduction which ultimately contribute to its potential for population growth. Working with researchers from the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, members of the HAPET (Habitat and Population Evaluation Team) office used whooping crane observations, landscape data, and a model-based approach to identify habitat for whooping cranes migrating through the Dakotas.

The resulting habitat model showed that migrant whooping cranes select landscapes comprised of large wetland complexes and a mixture of cropland and grassland that are close to the migration centerline between Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas and Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada.

We applied