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. Jim

    To all of the non-hunters... please propose a pragmatic solution to manage wildlife that doesn't involve culling a species. Remember, I said a pragmatic (ie realistic) solution. Also, if it is not wrong for another species to hunt and kill, why is it wrong for human beings to do so?

    January 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • PepperGuy

      @Jim – So, by your analogy, it is OK for humans to kill one another because our ancestors were killed by large carnivores? Animals do it, so it is OK for humans to do it?

      January 12, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I didn't espouse cannibalism. The issue is I have is the generalization that hunting is wrong, and everyone that engages in it is of a lesser mentality or civility than those that don't. Check the posts and count the number of people that have stated or alluded to this. If you want to discuss this I welcome the conversation.

      January 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeHouston

      @PepperGuy Can't you read?! that's not what he said, dummy!

      January 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Should be a 120,000 reward. Once a species is gone there is no retrieving it.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sandra LeVin

    What ZXQ said – beautiful, well said.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandra LeVin

    What ZXQ said – well said, beautiful.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. R Joynes

    Sure, there are reckless hunters who either don't care what they shoot or don't know what they are shooting. But the vast majority of hunters are law-abiding citizens who enjoy their sport and consume what they kill. Believe it or not, some even hunt out of necessity to help feed their families. And despite what some people believe hunting is necessary with some species (especially white-tailed deer) to help keep the population under control. The deer population in this part of the country (Eastern Virginia) has been steadily growing for decades. Without hunting, it would be out of control. There would not be enough food for all of these deer and many would starve.

    The idiots who shot these cranes (or any protected species) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, to group these morons with all hunters and label every one as someone who hunts just to shoot anything that moves is incredibly naive and frankly, insulting.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Well said.

      January 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JOE D

    People killing them should get the death penalty. Hundreds of people have spent their lives to help bring them back. It may take a couple of hundred more years. Yes we have ten times as many humans as we should. Whoever did this is the lowest of the low.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bobcat

    Very vitriolic conversation you have here, ladies and gentlemen. Why is it so necessary to bash one another?

    This was likely NOT done by people who hunt frequently. They generally respect the environmental flora and fauna. It was more likely done by "city slickers" out hunting. They probably just bought the guns, shells etc...and shot lots of things. However, this is a federal crime and the $12,500 is a warranted expenditure. With about 400 of these creatures left in the world, we have to vigorously stop people. When captured the interred can offer to pay the money back, plus expenses, or so time. Most of such cases result in people paying the costs (including rewards) and regretting things when their names appear in the newspaper.
    PS I am convinced most of you do not read the entire article before you post on this, or other topics. Do us a favor, do your homework.
    PPS I grew up in the south and have lived years in both the frozen north (wisconsin and Michigan) and the west. People are people everywhere. The more nasty comments people like you make, the more animosity there is in the country. Having said that-screw Palin, she is a bigot- idiot. She either should have known about "blood libel" or she did. So, she is either a bigot or an idiot.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. earl

    Hopefully some day the whooping cranes will be replaced by rednecks on the endangered list.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. carolyn56

    Kill kill kill that is what sports hunters love to do. Look at the bald eagle being poisoned by hunters lead bullet and the environmentalist wanted to ban the lead bullet yet many "sportsman" and NRA fought hard to make sure it will never be banned.
    Sports hunters kill krane , deer, elk , bear, any living being because they are all sadist heartless monsters!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alaska Dawn

      Sweetiepie, hunters pay pay pay. They pay for their license, for game tags, on n on. In some areas there are species that would be extinct were in not for the money from the hunters. Now be a good little girlie and eat your tofu.

      January 12, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • asilayfrying

      I hunt and fish every single year. And every single year I pay for the permit and the tags and i go to fundraisers and pay to the state to conserve wildlife. If we didn't hunt the deer on our land we would be hitting them with our cars, and they would be starving from lack of food in their territory. You are blind if you thing ALL hunters are redneck folk who just like to watch an animal bleed for fun. shame on you.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. your daddy

    all that are assuming that hunters are responsible are a bunch of idiots. you sit there behind your computer or iphone running your mouth about something you know nothing about. maybe you should get out and find a job or get a hobby so you won't have to vent your anger on here. the birds are dead, more than likely killed by a teen raised by someone like you. i haven't read one literate comment yet that supports the forum. the extinction of animals isn't caused by hunters, it's caused by taking away their natural habitat. get a job and leave the ignorant comments to the likes of the kkk, black panthers or that crazy church group in kansas.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. madmatt

    OK, Dick, now you have gone too far! First you shoot a lawyer in the face and now this!

    January 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheMovieFan

    Figures...a Southern state.

    January 12, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance

      You are ignorant and jealous of the south.

      January 13, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    When I was a kid, my parents bought me a pellet gun to shoot blackbirds with. A whooping crane flew in and landed in our back yard, and I wanted to shoot that bird so bad. My dad saw me aiming at it and told me they were rare and that I was only supposed to be shooting blackbirds and he would take away my gun if he saw me misusing it again.

    I'm glad he stopped me from shooting that bird. But if he hadn't been there at the right moment, I would've. It was a grand prize in my young mind.

    January 13, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. bryan

    i have hunted since i was 4 there is a huge difference between responsible hunting and poaching dont group the ignorant people with guns in with the responsible hunters and i have lived in louisiana my whole life not everybody is a dumb redneck with no teeth that is discrimination and profileing and that is wrong whoever shot these birds should be punished but quit being ignorant and judging people when you have no clue what your talking about

    January 13, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. guestwight

    @image42 RU a Friend?
    You seem too intelligent to be from around here.
    Does this mean I'm getting closer to Home? APageInTheLife 'multiplicity' 'synchronicity'

    January 13, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
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