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Drought threatens only surviving whooping cranes

Texas drought threatens only surviving flock of North American whooping cranes By The Associated Press

FULTON, Texas (AP) ' Scientists are concerned that the devastating drought in Texas could threaten the world's only remaining whooping cranes.

The lack of water, a scarcity of blue crabs and berries, and a toxic algae bloom could spell trouble for the flock of 300 birds that spends winter in Texas.

In 2009, when Texas last had a severe drought, about 23 cranes died. Tests showed that some of them had contracted rare diseases and suffered from malnourishment.

This year, scientists have already found one dead bird. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is trying to help the cranes by replenishing water holes, repairing windmills and burning land to make foraging easier.

The cranes need a good winter diet to have a successful nesting season in Canada.

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