WHITE LAKE, Wis. -

Ten young whooping cranes have been released into the wild after spending nearly a month at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Gueydan.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the birds released Thursday will join 23 adult whooping cranes that are being monitored as part of an effort to establish a non-migratory population of them in the state.

The younger cranes arrived in south Louisiana on Dec. 11 and came from the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md.

The birds are protected under state and federal laws and are among the world's largest and rarest birds.