Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Removing egg from nest may help save endangered whooping crane

23.11.2005


Removing an egg from the endangered whooping crane’s nest increases the species chances of survival despite governmental concerns about tampering with nature, says a University of Alberta scientist.



Dr. Mark Boyce, from the Faculty of Science, studied the policy of removing from Wood Buffalo National Park one of two whooping crane eggs laid and raising it in a "foster-parenting" program. Cranes usually rear a single chick and the other dies to siblicide or is killed by a predator, such as the wolf or fox. The egg-removal program was initiated years ago by Ernie Kuyt, an Edmonton-based scientist who reasoned that one egg could be taken and used for artificial propagation programs. The idea was so successful, says Boyce, that the whooping crane’s numbers have skyrocketed to over 200 birds in the original population and two new populations have been established elsewhere.

But Parks Canada prefers that no future egg collections occur in Wood Buffalo National Park due to concerns that egg removals may reduce the productivity of the whooping crane population and that more generally, human intervention and disturbance should be minimized. Boyce’s research found, however, that taking one egg away actually increases the probability of nest success. His paper--co-authored by Subhash Lele from the U of A’s mathematical and statistical sciences department as well as Brian Johns from the Canadian Wildlife Service-- is published in the December issue of Biological Conservation.


The last remaining whooping crane population nests in Wood Buffalo National Park and winters at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. At one point the bird’s numbers reached a low of 16 in 1942 but the population has since increased to more than 200 birds. Not only has the Wood Buffalo-Aransas population been enhanced by the egg removal program but removing the eggs has allowed the establishment of additional populations like those in Wisconsin and Florida, and a sizable captive flock. Taken together, the benefits to the conservation of the species have been very substantial, said Boyce.

"Luckily, at the moment the program is so successful that there is no reason to collect more eggs," said Boyce. "But for Parks Canada to intervene with a formal policy to prohibit future egg collecting is inappropriate and flies in the face of the data, as we present in our paper."

Boyce suggests several reasons why a chick might survive when an egg is removed from a nest. Sibling aggression has been so strong that some chicks have been observed pecking the later-born bird to death. Also, a pair of chicks is more likely to attract the attention of a predator and parents can be more attentive if they only have a single chick to protect.

Even though long-term fitness is almost the same whether one egg or two is laid, the risk of extinction for the Wood Buffalo-Aransas whooping crane population is lowest when eggs are removed, says Boyce. He recognizes the need to minimize human influence in national parks, but says priority should be given to ensure persistence of threatened and endangered species so that diversity is not lost permanently. "Surely we cannot appreciate benefits to ecological-process management if components of the ecosystem are missing," said Boyce.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>