department of wildlife and fisheries

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.

Louisiana's fall shrimp season is closing in most state inside waters.

Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said last week that the season would close for most inside waters at sunset Tuesday to let white shrimp grow larger and more valuable.

On Monday, he set closing Dec. 30 in parts of Lake Pelto and Terrebonne and Timbalier bays where the fall inshore season had been briefly extended.

Hurricane Isaac killed so many fawns in parts of southeast Louisiana that Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is limiting the deer season in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes and the Lake Maurepas Basin.

The archery season remains the same, but others are shortened and limited to bucks.

Dates also were changed in several wildlife management areas.

In Plaquemines Parish, biologists report high fawn mortality, moderate adult deer mortality and severe damage to habitat from salt water shock and storm surge debris.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says biologists did not see any external sign of trauma in a young dolphin found dead along the Mississippi River bank at Baton Rouge.

Spokeswoman Ashley Wethey said Thursday that the body was moderately to severely decomposed when biologists retrieved it by boat on Wednesday for testing.

A hydrologic survey crew reported the body Monday near the U.S. Highway 190 bridge.

A dead young dolphin washed ashore in an isolated area along the Mississippi River bank at Baton Rouge, state Wildlife and Fisheries personnel say.

Fisheries division biologist Mandy Tumlin says that in seven years with the department, she's never heard of a dolphin getting so far upriver. She says it might have done so by drafting along the bow of a ship headed upriver or by swimming up during Hurricane Isaac.

State wildlife and fisheries officials have extended the East Zone wild alligator harvest season through Oct. 4.

Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, approved the extension Tuesday.

The scheduled opening of the East Zone season was delayed from Aug. 29 until Sept. 1 due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac, which reached hurricane strength before landfall. Resulting flooding and displacement of residents prompted the extension.

The state fisheries department is hosting a free fishing rodeo to teach people how to catch the Rio Grande cichlid, an invasive species of fish.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is hosting the rodeo on Sept. 29 in City Park in New Orleans.

The cichlid fish out-compete native sport fish for habitat and bedding areas. The fish are from northeast Mexico and southern Texas. They were first reported in Louisiana in 1996 in Lake Pontchartrain and since then have spread throughout the New Orleans area.

14 more whooping cranes to join flock in Louisiana

Sep 17, 2012

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says 14 young whooping cranes are expected to arrive soon in southwest Louisiana.

That will double the number in a flock being reintroduced near the area where the state's last wild flock once lived.

Twenty-six whoopers have been brought to Louisiana, but predators and disease killed nearly half of them.

Biologists say deaths are expected, since the birds must learn to live in the wild. But teenage hunters killed two. The department is working to teach people why the birds need protection.

Elm Hall, a state wildlife refuge about 5 miles west of Napoleonville in Assumption Parish, opens again after it was closed because of Hurricane Isaac.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the refuge was reopened to the public on Wednesday.

Elm Hall is a 2,839-acre area that is accessible only by boat. The refuge sits on the northeast corner of Lake Verret.

Meanwhile Elmer's Island, a public beach facing the Gulf of Mexico in Jefferson Parish, remains closed after Isaac's surge exposed buried tar mats.

State officials are still working to determine what killed two whales found on Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac.

They also are trying to determine the whales' species.

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in an email Tuesday that both whales were badly decomposed, making it difficult to tell the species.

One whale, found at Belle Pass, was more than 8 feet long. The one at Grand Isle was about 10 feet long. Samples were taken from both whales in hopes of determining what killed them.

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