Notice of permit

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Regional or Local Number: WB-2015-18376

Notice is hereby given that pursuant to the provisions of section 74 of the Species at Risk Act permit no. WB-2015-18376 is issued.

Scientific research for the conservation of the species

Aerial Surveys I. Breeding pair survey by helicopter between May 1-30 - Visit territories known to have nests in prior years; perform reconnaissance surveys in new areas that whooping cranes are expected to colonize; - Record coordinates of nests, including clutch size when possible; - Record locations of non-nesting territorial pairs; - Document colour leg bands of marked birds. II. Productivity survey by helicopter between late July 25 to August 15 - Return to territories that had nests or chicks during the breeding pair or hatching success survey; - Count (by age class) and record coordinates of family groups with and without chicks; - Count and record coordinates of nonbreeding cranes (including pioneering territorial pairs and other groups); - Document colour leg bands of marked birds. Surveys in aircraft are typically sufficient to cause adult birds to stand allowing nest contents and/or colour band combinations on marked birds to be identified using gyroscopic binoculars. Disturbance to the birds is minimal and occurs over a very short time; we have documented no adverse effects on crane nesting behaviour or success. Aerial surveys are normally conducted from an above-ground altitude of 300m; lower passes may be required to determine colour leg band combinations or nest contents. Surveys of this nature have been conducted since 1966, with observations of coloured leg bands beginning in 1977; to date, no adverse impact to the birds have been identified.

Start Date: 2015-05-01   End Date: 2017-12-31

Issuing Authority: Parks Canada Agency

Authority Used:

  • Canada National Parks Act

Location of Activity (province, territory or ocean):

  • Alberta
  • Northwest Territories

Affected Species:

a) Given the extent and remoteness of the whooping crane nesting range, there are no reasonable alternatives to aerial surveys for detecting and monitoring crane nests and productivity. Least intrusive survey methods have been chosen to reduce or eliminate potential impacts to the cranes. Surveys of this nature have been conducted annually on the breeding and wintering grounds since 1966 and results to date do not indicate that there is any adverse impact. b) Aerial surveys are normally conducted from an altitude of about 300m above ground level, except lower passes may be required to determine colour leg band information and presence of eggs or chicks. These are standard techniques used during aerial surveys of breeding birds, including whooping cranes. This population is accustomed to being surveyed intensively by aircraft in Canada and the USA, and given the altitude at which we perform surveys, birds usually do not flush off nests when we are above them. When they do flush, birds usually return to the nest within a few minutes. To minimize any impact of disturbance during aerial surveys, attempts to identify or count a nest, eggs or colour leg bands will be aborted under the following circumstances: 1) time for an attempt exceeds 5 minutes; 2) birds are pursued more than 300 meters from the location they were first detected; 3) where there is potential that fledged young become separated from their parents. All proposed methods have been approved by the Environment Canada Animal Care committee. c) There is no evidence to suggest that research described in this application has had any negative effects on the whooping crane population. Since the Canadian Wildlife Service began monitoring and recovery activities (1954), the whooping crane population has grown at an average rate of 4% per year.

Contact Person(s)
Ms. Sharon Irwin
Resource Management Officer
Wood Buffalo National Park
P.O. Box 750
Fort Smith, NT
X0E 0P0
Tel: 867-872-7948
Fax: 867-872-3910

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