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Hercules and Our Involvement in Efforts to Protect Whooping Cranes

Hercules and Our Involvement in Efforts to Protect Whooping Cranes

Hercules GSA partnered with Kee Construction in order to assist in the protection of endangered whooping cranes in the MId-Atlantic region.

Biodiversity and the ecological health of our area are incredibly important. That’s why Hercules GSA partnered with Kee Construction in order to assist in the protection of endangered whooping cranes in the MId-Atlantic region. During the course of the 8-week project, we were able to provide fencing and enclosure equipment aimed at preserving the whooping cranes’ habitat and protecting several mating pairs.

The Project

The National Zoo’s Smithsonian Biological Conservation Institute, or SBCI, in Fort Royal, Virginia, sought to provide a safer environment for the whooping crane. The whooping crane is severely endangered–in fact, there are fewer than 900 of them left on the planet.

The SBCI’s research facility is 3,200 acres in size and dedicated to studying, breeding, and conserving endangered species of animals. In order to protect these whooping cranes, the SBCI facility will be home to six mated pairs. The pairs will be studied and given a habitat to breed. Any chicks hatched can be considered for reintroduction into the wild, hopefully bolstering the whooping crane population in the area.

Whooping cranes, which tend to nest near water, require an environment with fresh water. In the wild, chicks will swim until they are grown enough to fly. Small ponds and the associated plumbing were added to the facility grounds in order to provide these freshwater features. By providing the whooping crane pairs, and any hatchlings they may have, with a protected environment similar enough to their preferred ecosystem, the SBCI can give them a better chance at success in the wild. The conservation institute will need to provide breeding assistance to the whooping cranes, but given their ideal living environment at the research facility, the cranes will be able to raise their own hatchlings in a natural setting.

Our Involvement

In order to create this protected environment, Hercules GSA and Kee Construction partnered in the creation of enclosures for the breeding pairs. These enclosures were designed to prevent the cranes’ escape as well as invasion from natural predators. Hercules constructed three 50’ x 50’ pens for each  50’ x 150’ rectangular enclosure. The pens, separated by double gates, allow keepers at the research facility to pass between pens to care for the whooping cranes and their hatchlings. The pens were designed to utilize smaller hinges and gaps to minimize any spaces between the pen frames or posts that might allow the young cranes to escape.

We constructed 12-foot chain link fences with dig barriers to better secure the habitats from predators, and netting was placed overhead to keep the cranes from flying out of their enclosures. This netting is supported by steel cables and protected by plastic pipe around the top rail. Beyond this, the pen structures were reinforced with bracing made of steel cables attached to screws embedded in concrete. Through the construction of these pens, a stable, protective environment was created for these delicate, endangered birds in order to benefit their species and the biodiversity of our region.

Protecting Our Environment

Through our expertise in high-quality, secure fencing, Hercules GSA was proud to contribute to this biological conservation project. Promoting the ecological success of our region is important to conservation efforts and the overall health of the environment. Hunting, climate change, and habitat destruction in our region have contributed to the decline of whooping cranes. With any luck, the SCBI will be able to contribute to the reintroduction and success of whooping cranes in their natural environment through this conservation and breeding project.

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This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2019 at 12:21 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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