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Several Conservation Organizations Come Together To Offer Rewards In Whooping Crane Killing
Updated January 14, 2017 9:23 AM
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(LYONS) - In an effort to apprehend those responsible for the killing of the Whooping Crane, several conservation organizations have come together to offer a reward.

Indiana Conservation Officers have partnered with Indiana Turn in a Poacher (T.I.P.), Friends of Goose Pond and International Crane Foundation to offer a reward of $6500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for killing a Whooping Crane in Greene County.

An International Crane Foundation volunteer found the crane on January 3, near Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. This 8,000 acre protected area of prairie and marsh habitat is frequented by cranes. While initial findings show that the bird was killed by a high-powered rifle, the carcass has been sent to our National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon for confirmation.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials say that remains of the 5-year-old female crane were found in a field along Indiana 67 near the Goose Pond State Fish and Wildlife Area.

State officials say there are only about 120 whooping cranes in the U.S. and they are federally endangered species.

Conservation Officer Nathan Lutz says the crane had a radio transmitter and was banded and had been tracked for several years. She had a chick last spring but it didn't survive.

"Goose Pond FWA is a winter home for up to 25% of the entire eastern Whooping Crane population", said Dane Strahle, Friends of Goose Pond president. We strongly support the efforts to find the person(s) responsible for this killing".

Friends of Goose Pond's board members are offering a $2,500 reward. This reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

International Crane Foundation is supporting this effort and has committed to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

"The population of Whooping Cranes has recovered from a few dozen in the 1940s to about 450 in the wild today", said Tim Grunewald, International Crane Foundation North America Program Director. "The protection of the Whooping Crane population is a very high priority for our organization, and we hope to see justice served in this case."

Indiana Turn in a Poacher (TIP) is adding an additional $500.

An additional $2500 is being offered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for information leading to conviction.

"Poaching is referred to as theft of our precious natural resources", said Joe Cales, TIP president. "As citizens of Indiana, we do not tolerate the unlawful taking of our fish, wildlife or natural resources and we stand firmly against those who do."

The Whooping Crane killed in Greene County was part of an effort by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership to establish an eastern continental flock on a migratory path between Wisconsin and Florida. This migration path crosses through Indiana, with Whooping Crane's often stopping at Goose Pond FWA.

Indiana Conservation Officers are collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to investigate this crime.

"Conservation Law Enforcement is our mission", said Danny L. East, DNR Law Enforcement Director. "With the assistance of our conservation partners and our citizens, we remain confident that we will bring closure to this case."

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