Calgary Zoo gets conservation award for work with whooping cranes

Whooping crane
FILE: Whooping crane. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/LM Otero

The Calgary Zoo has received a conservation award for its work with several other organizations to protect the endangered whooping crane.

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The North American Conservation Award recognizes exceptional efforts toward regional habitat preservation, species restoration and support of biodiversity in the wild.

It is handed out annually by the U.S.-based Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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The Calgary Zoo is being recognized along with the International Crane Foundation, the San Antonio Zoo and the Audubon Nature Institute.

The association says award recipients have helped the birds recover by breeding them, protecting key habitat and engaging the public in protection efforts.

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In 1944, just 21 whooping cranes were left in the wild, but conservation efforts have seen their numbers climb to about 450.

Their long-term survival isn’t guaranteed, however, as they still face threats that include water shortages, power line collisions, habitat loss and shootings.

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