Whooping Crane: An endangered whooping crane gets special treatment and a home at the Milwaukee County Zoo

The Milwaukee County Zoo assists the International Crane Foundation (ICF) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with whooping-crane recovery by acting as a medical care location for injured whooping cranes. The Zoological Society of Milwaukee has provided funds to assist in this effort. In 2006 a juvenile whooping crane named Torch came to the Zoo with a broken wing. The injury prevented the bird from ever being released into the wild. An exhibit was created for Torch in the Wong Family Pheasantry. In October 2008, another injured crane, named Tiki, came to the Zoo to be a companion to Torch. Tiki also is not healthy enough to live in the wild because her legs and beak were injured when another crane attacked her. Both cranes were part of a project to raise cranes in captivity and then release them back into the wild.

The Whooping Crane Recovery Program is responsible for bringing the number of wild cranes back from a low of 16 individuals in the 1940s to 539 cranes worldwide (as of January 2009). ICF uses donated funds to aid in the captive rearing, release, and management of wild cranes as well as to develop new release techniques to bolster the existing population. ICF also conducts outreach programs to educate the public about the plight of the cranes.