I have never seen a Whooping Crane, but by now they have arrived not far from where I am to over winter in Texas. I think that this year I will find the time to go down and see the Whoopers. The cranes themselves are a remarkable and majestic ancient bird, but what I took away from their conservation story was more about the amazing commitment of the people who are trying to restore the species. I think the entire book "Hope for Animals and Their World" is about the extraordinary lengths that some people will go to restore an endangered species, and I believe that they are good stories to internalize, it is good to see that sometimes we can undo, and that in some places some people are working really hard to do just that.
When the wild population of Whooping Cranes was down to about 15, it took the efforts of the United States and Canadian Governments along with several Whooping Crane conservation organizations to start building the population back up. The organization I choose to highlight in my sketchbook is Operation Migration. If you have ever seen Fly Away Home, then you know what these people are up to. They are taking captive breed Whoopers and reestablishing migration routes by training the birds to follow ultralight planes. Although the Whooping Crane wild population is up from 15 to a little more than 400, that is not enough to secure it's future in the world. The Whooping Crane remains endangered. For more information about Operation Migration go to www.operationmigration.org.