The seventh annual Wisconsin to Florida whooping crane migration is underway with a little help from their human friends.
Seventeen baby whooping cranes took off from the Necedah Wildlife Refuge Saturday following ultra light aircraft.
Joan Garland with the International Crane Foundation says the goal of the sixty to seventy day trek is to help the rare birds learn their natural migration route and perpetuate the population.
Hopes are high this year after last year's class of chicks was wiped out by severe thunderstorms after safely arriving in Florida. Garland says that was devastating to everyone on the project. But now they're looking to the future and have high hopes for this year's flock.
They ultimate goal is to produce twenty-five breeding pairs of birds. Fifty-two birds have been released to the wild in the past six years and they need to have roughly one hundred and twenty-five birds out there to make it work.
The project will continue for a while .