Reward offered in Green Co., Indiana Whooping Crane shooting death
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in a June 26, 2014 press release that a federally protected Whooping Crane is believed to have been shot and killed in southern Green Co., Indiana, near the White River around late December 2013. Read the entire press release here.
A reward of $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources and USFWS encourage anyone with information to come forward. Investigations have been solved with information that was originally thought of as insignificant. If you have information, you can reach law enforcement officers at 1-800-TIP-IDNR (847-4367) or 317-346-7016.
Despite the fact that Whooping cranes are protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Indiana law, these cranes continue to be illegally shot in the state. In 2009, crane #17-02 considered to be the “matriarch” of the eastern population (she and her mate #11-02 were at the time the only successful breeding pair in the reintroduced Eastern Migratory Population; their offspring, Wild 1-06, was the first migratory Whooping Crane hatched in eastern North America in more than a century), was shot and killed in Vermillion Co., IN. Then in December 2011 crane #6-05 was killed with a high-powered rifle while spot-lit at night in Jackson Co., IN.
The death of the Green Co. crane is one in a list of recent, senseless shootings of Whooping Cranes in the eastern population:
• July 21, 2013 in Waupaca County, WI – The female of a mated pair, shot and killed.
• November, 2013 in Hopkins Co. KY – A wintering, mated Whooping Crane pair, shot and killed.
• February 7, 2014 in Louisiana – Mated pair (first to build a nest in LA in 75 years) shot and killed; female killed outright and the male died while recovering from surgery to repair gunshot damage.
The $1 fine in the Vermillion case was a crime in and of itself, and I hope that from now on the judicial system goes for the absolute maximum in fines and jail time for those that kill endangered animals. Operation Migration spends close to $150,000 per chick, not to mention countless hours of time, sweat, and tears to help prevent extinction of these amazing animals, and judgements such as the previously mentioned one make a complete mockery of that hard work.
I continue to be baffled at people and their unconscionable behavior, and hope that the miscreants responsible for this reprehensible crime are brought to *actual* justice.