Endangered whooping cranes shot dead
Only about 400 whooping cranes exist in the wild, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says.
January 12th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

Endangered whooping cranes shot dead

Three endangered whooping cranes were shot to death in southern Georgia, wildlife officials say.

The three dead birds were found and reported by hunters near Albany, Georgia, on December 30, according to a release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The cranes, which were banded and fitted with radio transmitters, were part of a group of five that were migrating to Florida together, the service said. They had last been tracked 20 days earlier in Hamilton County, Tennessee.

The cranes are part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership effort to reintroduce whooping cranes into the eastern United States. There are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, 400 of which are in the wild, according to the wildlife service. About 100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population.

The cranes that were killed were not among those famously led south by ultralight aircraft, but instead were part of the Direct Autumn Release program, in which cranes are encouraged to follow other migrating birds, such as sandhill cranes.

In addition to the Endangered Species Act, whooping cranes are protected by state laws and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The wildlife service and Georgia Department of Natural Resources are investigating. Several organizations have contributed toward a $12,500 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.


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soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. LaughDream

    Humans are stupid.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • steveo2504

      If you're stupid and you know it clap your hands.....this forum should sound like a standing ovation!

      January 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Henk in Colorado

    Here in Colorado we just had a 'hunter' shoot a hibernating bear in his den.
    OK, after arriving in the US almost 30 years ago it did take a while for me to understand hunting. I accept that now. But this? Bunch of morons.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • cynicalme

      i bet that person also likes to go on 'canned hunts'. sick, ignorant, coward.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim armstrong

      bears don't hibernate, they deep sleep, so he shot a sleeping bear, please LearnToResearch, THEN make comments.

      January 13, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Boinking Bill

    Thank goodness they weren't Whoopy Cranes.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Park Ranger

    Again, some gap tooth redneck was out doing his manly duty "huntin'" and shot anything that flies by.
    Gotta git sumtin cuz I waz out shootin,' Hunters : bunch of macho boys tryin to prove they got some nads.
    If you like something rare and beautiful . Another reason man is the greatest threat to the earth.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Park Ranger? Really? More like Rump Ranger

      January 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Regis990

      Really, Steve...Rump Ranger? That's the best you got? I bet you are the funniest MAN in your 6th grade class.

      January 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim

    The act of another responsible gun owner in America. Thankfully the victims were not children. I hope the owners of the infantile minds posting here are NOT gun owners and never will be.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I'm a gun owner and a hunter Jim. What aspect of environmental science, evolutionary psychology, geology, biology, or ecology would you like to discuss?

      January 12, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MJB

    Yes, people continue to show their ignorant side and shoot anything that moves. People are really sickos and hopefully they will get caught and get something except a slap on the hand.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. steveo2504

    That's probably more of a reward than offered on a killer for killing a human.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      You seem so offended that people consider this an issue. Taking care of, appreciating, and preserving the natural world is something a lot of people, to include me, consider very important and is a responsibility. Apparently, you don't give a s*$%, so that pretty much makes you a terrible person.

      January 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve in MN

      Well, B-I-N-G-O. Of course they are worth more – we've got about 5 BILLION more people than we do whooping cranes.

      Extraordinarily ignorant, Confederate flag-waving, Palin-voting hillbillies. Lord Save Us.

      January 12, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Actually, we are nearing 7 billion people.

      January 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ccaze

    I have never tried it but I guess they don't taste very good if they left them behind.

    I would think they would look pretty good stuffed and standing on my front lawn. What do you think they did with the carcases?

    January 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stinky Britches

    T&#119&#97&#116

    January 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Burbank

    Stupid inbred trailer trash! Can't we just catch them and cut their hands off at the wrists so they can't do it again?? Wouldn't want my precious hard earned tax money supporting them in jail.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. popeye

    who coulld have done this? palin?

    January 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. logicality

    These are not hunters. These are boneheads. Big difference. Here in Colorado recently, a bonehead crawled into a small cave/den and shot a bear that was sleeping after he waited a few hours for the animal to come out. When it didn't, he crawled in with his gun and shot it. A true hunter wouldn't be that ignorant.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ccaze

    Someone had to shoot these birds. We don't want them getting complacent.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jellylee2020

    Has anyone check the whereabouts of the great hunters Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin when these birds were killed?

    January 12, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D Gannon

    Why is this news ?

    January 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Al

      Because some idiot(s) shot 3 members of a very endangered species. A lot of people care about the preservation of life in the wild and a lot of efforts are made to accomplish that mission, which makes it significant, which makes it news.

      January 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dalis

      The Whooping Crane is an American icon, one of the birds depicted in John J. Audubon's Birds of America. It's news because this species was to be one of the success stories of the Endangered Species Act, and one reckless act can have a palpable impact on the genetic diversity of the surviving population. It was brought back from real extinction, but its status is still very precarious.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
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