Special to The Hays Daily NewsThe presence of more than a dozen Whooping Cranes at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge has closed the refuge to hunting.

The 11 adult and three juvenile cranes were spotted in the north part

of the refuge Wednesday, said Melanie Olds, biological science

technician at the refuge.

Whooping Cranes are an endangered species, so hunting is not allowed while they are present.

“It depends on the weather,” how long they might be around, Olds said.

“They came in when we had a north wind and today we have a south wind,

so they’ll most likely be staying.”

Refuge staff keep “a pretty good eye out” for the birds, Olds said.

Once it is determined that there are no longer any Whooping Cranes on

the Refuge, hunting will reopen according to the current hunting

season, according to refuge officials.

The public can go to the refuge Web site or

call the Refuge headquarters at 620-486-2393 for updates.