The Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is part of the Gulf Coast Refuge Complex, which includes Grand Bay NWR and Bon Secour NWR.
The refuge was established in 1975 under authority of the Endangered Species Act to protect the critically endangered Mississippi sandhill cranes and their unique, and itself endangered, wet pine savanna habitat.
The crane population, at that time only 30-35 birds, is currently at approximately 110 birds. Through captive rearing and reintroduction to the area as well as wild birds nesting in the savannas, the crane population continues to grow.
The refuge also protects and restores the last large expanses of wet pine savanna, primarily through the use of prescribed fire. The wet pine savanna is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the U.S. with more than 30 plants found in a square meter of land.
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