Young Cranes Begin Trek South

Posted Friday, October 17, 2008 --- 9:30 p.m.

NECEDAH, Wis. (AP) -- A new group of young whooping cranes is heading south, led by ultralight aircraft, as part of the effort to create a second migratory flock of the endangered birds in North America.

Fourteen cranes took off Friday from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin. Eight flew to the first stop four miles away, but the other six turned back to their pen. Eventually, those six were moved to the stopover point, either by flying or in crates.

It's the eighth time researchers have led cranes hatched in captivity on the 1,250-mile migratory route to Florida's Gulf Coast. After that, they migrate on their own.

The flock now numbers an estimated 68 cranes, not counting the 14 young ones.

A new route is being used to make the migration easier.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

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