The federal and state wildlife officials announced plans to release four to eight juvenile whooping cranes in a huge pen at White Lake, then add up to 30 a year to create a non-migratory flock. There’s a strange line in the federal register about how Texas wanted the cranes to make it easier on hunting regulations.
That’s a little greedy since they already have the biggest and best flock, which winters in Arnasas. It’s also a little piggish because what they are in effect saying is that they wanted the flock so that if hunters shot a whooping crane they wouldn’t be charged with messing with an endangered species. Here’s how the Fish and Wildlife Service put it in their public document:
During that discussion, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department representative expressed interest in having two coastal counties in Texas included as part of the area for this proposed experimental population to avoid possible closures of waterfowl hunting if whooping cranes from the proposed experimental population were to wander into the area. This proposed regulation does not include those two counties as the Service believes that expansion of the endangered AWBP [Arnasas flock] into the two coastal counties is an essential aspect of achieving recovery of the species.
What they’re talking about is this: all populations of an endangered species are divided into those that are essential to the survival of the species and those that are called non-essential experimental. If you kill part of an essential