POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 3:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 3:04am
Louisiana — The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) whooping crane re-population project will benefit from artwork donated by two distinguished artists recognized today by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.
Louisiana native R.C. “Chris” Davis and Canadian Robert “Bob” Bateman have each provided LDWF original paintings for the project. Prints of the Davis painting will be sold through the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF) with all proceeds supporting the state’s efforts to restore this endangered species.
Davis’ artwork depicting cranes in flight over a south Louisiana marsh and Bateman’s painting of a pair of cranes were on display at today’s meeting and presented to two corporate sponsors who have provided support for the whooping crane project during the first two years of the multi-year initiative.
“This high quality artwork will greatly enhance the public awareness of this fascinating species, which is important because the species has been absent from this state for over 60 years,” said Bob Love, LDWF Coastal and Nongame Resources Division administrator.
Chevron was honored with a Bateman print for a grant which funded the project’s public awareness and education campaign in 2012. Joe Combes, Ultra Deep Gas Drilling Manager, Chevron Gulf of Mexico Business Unit, received the print on behalf of Chevron. Acadian Ambulance’s Richard Zuschlag received a Davis print for the company’s fundraising efforts on behalf of the Foundation.
“The ongoing support by Chevron and Acadian Ambulance Services, along with other corporate and private donor support, is critical to the success of this project,” said Kell McInnis, LWFF executive director. “The foundation is proud of its role as a conduit through which funds from the private sector can allow them to become partners in this long term restoration venture.”
LDWF is now in year three of the multi-year project based at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area location in Vermilion Parish. White Lake provides temporary shelter for the cranes delivered as juveniles from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. Twenty seven adult whooping cranes are currently in the wild on the Louisiana landscape. LDWF is already preparing for the next shipment of additional juvenile cranes. The plan is to receive annual cohorts until there is sufficient natural reproduction to sustain our new population.
LDWF continues to work cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and the International Crane Foundation to restore the species within the state. Project funding is derived from LDWF species restoration dedicated funds, federal funds and significant amounts of private/corporate donations which are facilitated by the LWFF. Donations offset the costs of transmitter tracking equipment, maintenance of holding pens at White Lake, biologist salaries and public outreach and education initiatives.
For information on making donations to the project and obtaining prints of the R.C. Davis artwork “Taking Flight”, visit the LWFF website at www.lawff.org  . All proceeds from sales of the paintings will be dedicated to the project.