Another endangered whooping crane has been found shot to death, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports.
The agency is offering a $6,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the death of a crane at Weiss Lake, Alabama, in late January.
The male whooping crane, designated 12-04, was equipped with a transmitter and leg bands to help track its movements. Raised in Wisconsin at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, whooping crane 12-04 learned how to migrate behind ultralight aircraft flown by Operation Migration.
"We are extremely disappointed by the killing of this whooping crane," Jim Gale, special agent in charge of law enforcement in the service's Southeast Region, said in a press release. "We recently lost three whooping cranes to gunfire in south Georgia, now this one in Alabama. This senseless killing has just got to stop."
Officials are offering $20,800 in rewards for information on the crane deaths in Georgia, which occurred in late December.
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 in the wild. There are about 100 cranes in the Eastern Migratory Population.
In addition to the Endangered Species Act, whooping cranes are protected by state laws and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.