Whooping Crane Summer Range

Whooping Crane Summer Range is a 16,895 km² wetland complex in the boreal forests of northern Alberta and southwestern Northwest Territories in Canada. It is the only natural nesting habitat for the critically endangered whooping crane. On May 24, 1982 it was designated a Ramsar wetland of international importance,Cite web|url=http://www.ramsar.org/world_heritage.htm|title=Ramsar and World Heritage Sites|publisher=Ramsar Convention Secretariat|accessdate=2007-08-03] one of two such sites in Wood Buffalo National Park (the other is Peace-Athabasca Delta). It is owned by the Government of Canada, and is administered by Parks Canada with some input from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Encompassing the northeastern portion of Wood Buffalo National Park, approximately 2,300 km² (14%) of the wetland is external to the park, on Crown land in the Northwest Territories.Cite web|url=http://www.unep-wcmc.org/sites/wh/woodbuff.html|title=Protected Areas and World Heritage - Wood Buffalo National Park|publisher=United Nations Environment Programme|accessdate=2007-08-03] It is also classified an Important Bird Area.Cite web|url=http://www.bsc-eoc.org/iba/site.jsp?siteID=NT002|title=Whooping Crane Nesting Area and Summer Range|publisher=Important Bird Areas of Canada|accessdate=2007-08-03]

The range is a complex of contiguous water bodies, primarily lakes and various wetlands, such as marshes and bogs, but also includes streams and ponds. In addition to the whooping crane nesting area, the range includes two sites classified during the International Biological Program.Cite web|url=http://www.mb.ec.gc.ca/nature/whp/ramsar/df02s07.en.html|title=Whooping Crane Summer Range, Alberta/Northwest Territories - Ramsar Site|publisher=Environment Canada|accessdate=2007-08-03]

Because the area developed through wildfires, "no natural forest fires in the area are extinguished unless they threaten structural facilities or...leave the boundaries of Wood Buffalo National Park".

A whooping crane census in 1941 counted only 15 migratory birds. There are currently 178 migratory birds which winter and breed in coastal Texas, primarily in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Annual population surveys are conducted by the Canadian Wildlife Service. A few breeding pairs of the nationally endangered Peregrine Falcon also nest in the range. Due to the significant threat of extinction of whooping cranes, access to nesting sites is strictly controlled, limited only to researchers and park staff, and low-flying aircraft is prohibited in the area.

References


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