PRESS RELEASE: January 12, 2010
Contacts: USFWS: Tom MacKenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile:(678) 296-6400Georgia DNR: Rick Lavender, email@example.com (770) 918-6787
Endangered Whooping Cranes were Killed by Gunshot Near Albany, Georgia
— U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Offers $12,500 Reward for Information
Wildlife scientists at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory
in Ashland, Oregon, have concluded through preliminary testing the cranes
found dead near Albany, Georgia, on Dec. 30, 2010, sustained injuries
consistent with gunshot wounds.
The cranes were shot sometime before Dec. 30, 2010. They were discovered
and reported by hunters. This was the crane’s first migration.
They were banded and equipped with transmitters and were not part
of the ultralight aircraft-led migration effort. Their identities
confirmed by the recovery of their bands. The three cranes, 20-10,
24-10, and 28-10,
were part of a group of five 2010 Direct Autumn Release (DAR) cranes.
According to Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership trackers, they had
last been tracked in Hamilton County, Tennessee, where they roosted
10, 2010, with cranes 6-05, 6-09, and 38-09.
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. About
100 cranes are in the eastern migratory population.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents are leading a joint investigation
with Georgia Department of Natural Resources conservation rangers.
Numerous organizations are contributing funds for the reward. They include:
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Humane Society of the United
States along with the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, the Georgia
Ornithological Society, the International Crane Foundation, Operation
Migration, the St. Marks Refuge Association, along with the St. Marks
Photo Club, and the Georgia Conservancy. The reward of up to $12,500
will be provided to the person or people who provide information leading
to an arrest and successful prosecution of the perpetrator(s).
In addition to the Endangered Species Act, whooping cranes are protected
by state laws and the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Any information concerning the deaths of these cranes should be provided
to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Terry Hasting at 404-763-7959
and/or Georgia Department of Natural Resources 24hr. TIP Hotline at 1-800-241-4113.
For more information about the reintroduction effort, visit the WCEP
Of the 10 whooping cranes led south by ultralights, five have already
arrived at their wintering location at St. Marks National Wildlife
Refuge, Florida, and five are still on the migration in north
Florida, two stopovers
away from their final destination at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife
Biologists from the International Crane Foundation and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service reared 11 other whooping cranes at Necedah
Wildlife Refuge released in the company of older cranes from whom
the young birds learn the migration route. They were released on
One was killed on Oct. 30, by a predator at Necedah National Wildlife
Refuge. This is the sixth year the partnership has used this Direct
Autumn Release method. These cranes generally follow other older
and sometime sandhill cranes, during the fall migration to find
suitable wintering habitat.
The ultralight-led and Direct Autumn Release chicks are this year
joining two wild-hatched chicks in the 2010 cohort.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with
others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants
and their habitats
for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information
on our work and the people who make it happen, visit FWS. or
for the Southeast, here.
Tom R. MacKenzie
Media Relations Specialist and Native American Liaison
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Southeast Region
1875 Century Blvd Ste 410
Atlanta, GA 30345-3319
404-679-7291 Fax:404-679-7286 Cell: 678-296-6400