Rare cranes from Canada, Wisconsin, Maryland, in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS — A dozen young whooping cranes from Wisconsin, Maryland, and Alberta, Canada, are being gradually introduced to the wild in a Louisiana refuge.

The Audubon Species Survival Center’s assistant curator, Richard Dunn, says Tuesday was a big day. He brought the rare, endangered birds to the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southwest Louisiana. They came from New Orleans, where three cranes hatched and were introduced to the others.

He says it felt a bit like taking kids to college.

Another 11 juveniles were brought to the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) further north, on Nov. 9 to begin a similar process.

That means 72 whooping cranes are now living in the wild in southwest Louisiana.

The 23 youngsters are getting acclimated in pens covered with netting.