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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

Good/bad news about whooping cranes

April 06, 2010 at 07:00 AM

Good news out of Florida is that a group of juvenile whooping cranes which were wintering at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge started their spring migration on Monday, April 5. Nine juveniles joined three other sub-adults and flapped off to Grady County, Ga., according to Eva Szyszkoski of the International Crane Foundation.

Bad news is a new scientific report that claims there are some real problems with the handling of the experimental flock. Click here to read an interesting article on this subject from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

A five-member panel of experts led by Phil Miller of Senior Breeding Specialist Group of Apple Valley, Minn. called out the various groups running the reintroduction for weak financial controls and a lack of scientific oversight. The panel also called into question the use of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin as a home for the whoopers. The report notes that only one crane chick has been born at Necedah and survived since 2001.

The report also notes that the crane program has so far spent nearly $16 million in the past decade to produce 103 whooping cranes that migrate from central Wisconsin to Florida.

To help cut costs, the panel suggests that crane managers “reduce the number of juvenile cranes over the next five years that fly with ultralight aircraft on their first migration to Florida” opting instead to have young cranes follow mature cranes south. While that would save money, it would also cut down on the fund-raising arm of the crane reintroduction.

All in all, it will be interesting to see what changes come from this report, if any. Certainly the issues raised seem valid.


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