Navigation Links
Removing egg from nest may help save endangered whooping crane

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 c aptive 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.


Source:University of Alberta

Related biology news :

1. Removing DNA repair gene causes metabolic syndrome
2. Leading scientists rank endangered dolphins, porpoises most in need of immediate action
3. Time and money make a difference in endangered species recovery
4. Costly breeding programs for endangered species pay off
5. Cattle grazing may help rather than hurt endangered species
6. Envisat radar surveillance protects endangered prehistoric fish
7. Overfishing may drive endangered seabird to rely upon lower quality food
8. Seal rookeries could provide a reliable food source for endangered California condors, study finds
9. Rare Tibetan antelope listed as endangered
10. Protecting endangered species helps reduce poverty
11. Scientist warns of threat to last stronghold of endangered turtle
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/19/2015)... -- Although some 350 companies are actively involved in molecular ... according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, Abbott ... of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according to ... Diagnostic s .    ... one company and only a handful of companies can ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015 Paris from ... --> Paris from 17 th until ... biometrics innovation leader, has invented the first combined scanner in ... same scanning surface. Until now two different scanners were required: ... can capture both on the same surface. This innovation ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Florida , November 30, 2015 ... specializing in the development of innovative peptide and gene-based ... metastatic disease, today announced it will be presenting at ... on December 1, 2015 at 2.30 PM PT. Dr. ... and Strategic Advisor will be giving the presentation and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015  Aytu BioScience, Inc. (OTCQB: AYTU), a commercial-stage ... will present at two upcoming investor conferences. Aytu is ... virtual conference, to be held December 3, 2015, and ... held December 2 nd & 3 rd , ... streamed live via webcast. Josh Disbrow , ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... RATON, Florida and MAGDEBURG, Germany ... Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, Austria ... 3rd European Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in ... 2015. --> NovaVision, a wholly owned subsidiary of ... the European version of its Internet-delivered NovaVision Therapy Suite at ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... integration with MarkLogic, the Enterprise NoSQL database platform provider, creating a seamless ... , Smartlogic’s Content Intelligence capabilities provide a robust set of semantic tools ...
Breaking Biology Technology: