Operation Migration To Dissolve At Years End

(Green Lake County) After 25-years, a program that had used ultralight planes to guide baby whooping cranes from Wisconsin to Florida will be ending permanently at the end of 2018. Operation Migration has garnered mainstream attention and support in their efforts to help the federally protected species during their first southward migration. In 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services decided the method was too artificial and thought best to end the aircraft-guided migrations that saw select birds travel from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County. Since then, the organization has conducted crane research including costume rearing, releasing parent-reared cranes and flock monitoring. Operation Migration CEO and co-founder Jeff Duff says this difficult decision to dissolve is heartbreaking but all possible avenues to avoid this outcome have been exhausted. He added that new management directives authorized by the Whooping Crane Recovery Team and implemented by Region 3 Fish and Wildlife Service meant they could not in good faith continue to accept contributions or assign staff and volunteers. Accomplishments include, among other things, the successful reintroducing of whooping cranes that learned to avoid humans, select proper habitats and pair with other whooping cranes to produce offspring.