LINCOLN – Father Hupp Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is temporarily closed effective immediately due to the presence of six endangered whooping cranes. The closure will be lifted once the cranes have left the area.
Father Hupp WMA is located 2½ miles east of Bruning in Thayer County.
The closure is a standard procedure for the Commission once whooping cranes are confirmed on a property owned or managed by the agency. “We value the outdoor opportunities our properties provide to hunters and other recreationists, but our WMAs also provide valuable habitat to an array of wildlife, including threatened and endangered species,” said Scott Taylor, the Commission’s wildlife division administrator. “This temporary closure is intended to not only protect whooping cranes, but to also protect the public from accidentally disturbing or harming the birds, which is illegal under federal and state law.”
Whooping cranes are an endangered species and their wild population totals only about 300 individuals. The entire population migrates through Nebraska each spring and fall between wintering sites along the Texas coast and breeding areas in northern Alberta. Whooping cranes are protected by both the federal Endangered Species Act and the Nebraska Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act. Penalties for killing, possessing, or harassing whooping cranes or other species protected under these laws may include fines of up to $50,000, up to year in jail, or both.
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