The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center's weekend homage to the North American whooping crane was a hit as hundreds turned out to learn more about the bird.
A crowd of about 200 people turned out July 28 for the Adopt-A-Whooper event in Laurel, which sought to raise awareness about the crane—a bird that was on the brink of extinction in the 1940s. The Laurel Leader reports that the kick-off event attracted crowds for child-friendly activities such as a table for folding origami whooping cranes and migration exercises.
Currently, there are about 68 cranes living at the refuge -- an impressive number considering that during the '40s fewer than 20 cranes were living in the wild. Today, that number is around 600, according to the Leader.
Volunteers at the center said they felt it was important to bring the program back after it was suspended some years ago due to leadership change.
"We had to bring the program back," Ken Lavish, chair of the Friends' Adopt-A-Whooper Committee, told the Leader. "The main thing is, this was a North American bird way too close to extinction, and to make that jump from the 1940s to today, slowly increasing, that's big."