US Fish & Wildlife Service



Date of this Version



Canadian Wildlife Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2007. International recovery plan for the whooping crane. Ottawa: Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife (RENEW), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 162 pp.


The Whooping Crane Recovery Plan (Plan) was prepared under the authorities of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended, the Canada Wildlife Act of 1974, and the Canadian Species at Risk Act of 2003. Decision-makers are provided with an orderly set of events that, if carried to successful completion, will change the status of this species from the Endangered to the Threatened level. The Plan describes management and research actions that are underway and proposes additional actions needed to ensure the recovery of the whooping crane. Funding levels and time schedules are estimated, and priorities have been set for each management and research action. This revision of the Whooping Crane Recovery Plan describes recovery actions and costs required for the birds and habitat in both Canada and the United States. Part I covers basic biology of the species, historical and present distribution, habitat requirements, numbers and rate of growth, biological factors limiting the population, human threats, and conservation measures. Part II states the recovery goals, strategy, objectives and criteria, provides a step-down outline of specific actions needed for recovery, and describes protective actions to alleviate threats. Part III provides an implementation schedule for recovery. Parts IV and V provide contact information and key references. Appendices C and D, respectively, address recovery actions completed or underway, and summarize responses to public comments on the draft plan.

The recovery program for the whooping crane is an excellent example of international cooperation to save a species. Cooperative recovery actions of the 2 nations are outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of the Whooping Crane approved in 1991 and updated at 5-year intervals. Development of this Plan by a joint Canada/U.S. Recovery Team is appropriate because the whooping crane’s recovery is dependent upon conservation and management of the species in both countries.

As an international document, the Plan has a unique format to satisfy the requirements of both Canada and the United States. It was written in conjunction with 2 Canadian documents; National Recovery Strategy for the Whooping Crane (Grus Americana) and Action Plan for the Whooping Crane (Johns and Stehn 2005a,b).

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