Reward Offered for Info on Whooping Crane Shooter in Western Indiana
The death of a bird usually doesn't generate much outrage, but Indiana conservation groups say they want to find whoever shot and killed a whooping crane near Cayuga in Vermillion County, in western Indiana.
Someone noticed the carcass of the white, long-legged migratory bird along a county road two weeks ago.
Phil Seng is a volunteer with Indiana's Turn In a Poacher program, which has chipped in money toward a $7,500 reward to anyone with information on the incident. He says the whooping crane is one of the nation's most endangered animals.
"There's only about 500 of them left in the world", says Seng. "And so, they're trying to reestablish the population. It's a big part of our natural heritage, and we certainly feel that it's important that those birds be around for everyone's enjoyment.
Seng says it's hard to figure out why someone would want to shoot a whooping crane, which is distinctive from any other game bird by its striking white color and long legs. He says hunting long-legged wading birds such as herons and egrets is not permitted in Indiana, so it's unlikely that the whooping crane was mistaken for another legal game bird. "We feel that people who shoot animals like this are not legitimate hunters, they're more poachers and thieves", says Seng.
US Fish and Wildlife Service officials say the crane had an ID band on its leg and had been observed alive by a staff member of the International Crane Foundation just three days before it was found dead.
If you have information on the shooting, you can call the Indiana Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.