Twenty-eight endangered whooping cranes now live in the wild in southwest Louisiana.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 14 youngsters brought to Gueydan on Nov. 29 were released Monday. They join 14 adults — two released in early 2011 and 12 released late last year in the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish.
It's the general area where the last flock of Louisiana whooping cranes lived in the 1940s.
In all, 40 have been released. Twelve died — mostly from predators or illness, though teenagers shot two.
Whooping cranes are the largest North American bird. Adults are five feet tall, with a wingspan of up to 8 feet.
They're among the world's rarest birds and are protected by state and federal law.