Kissinger Wildlife Management Area near Fairfield has reopened to all visitors, including hunters and wildlife watchers, following a temporary closure to protect whooping cranes using the area.
Two endangered whooping cranes were present at the WMA since Oct. 19, utilizing the wetland as their roosting spot and nearby area as their feeding grounds. They continued their migration south on Nov. 11.
“We appreciate the cooperation and assistance by the public and local landowners during the whooping cranes’ stopover,” said Alicia Hardin, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wildlife division administrator. “These wetlands provide important habitat and recreation opportunities. By working together, we were able to strike a balance between the needs of these endangered wildlife and people’s recreational interests.”
Whooping cranes are endangered, with a wild population of fewer than 600 birds. The entire population migrates through Nebraska each spring and fall between wintering sites along the Texas coast and breeding areas in northern Alberta.
The whooping cranes are protected by both the federal Endangered Species Act and the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act.
The closure was standard protocol for Game and Parks once whooping cranes are confirmed on a property owned or managed by the agency.
To learn more about the endangered whooping crane, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/WhoopingCrane.