Louisiana's whooping crane comeback: 5 chicks this year

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Associated Press

JEFFERSON DAVIS PARISH, La. (AP) - Endangered whooping cranes released into Louisiana's wilds have had their best hatching season so far, with five chicks foraging in crawfish ponds.

The majestic birds barely escaped extinction: the 670 alive today all are descendants of 15 counted in Texas in 1941. Work in many states and Canada to preserve the species includes raising chicks for release into the wild.

Six hatched this spring in New Orleans, where one is being raised by cranes and five by costumed people who taught them to eat and drink, and now exercise them many times a day.

Crawfish ponds are artificial wetlands. Four pairs of whooping cranes released as youngsters in southwest Louisiana built nests in such ponds this year, hatching five chicks. And, with the farmers' permission, state biologists are following their progress.

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