Thursday, January 13, 2011

Endangered Whooping Cranes Killed by Gunshot Near Albany, Georgia

WHERE is Ducks Unlimited on This!
Endangered Whooping Cranes were Killed by Gunshots

All you fellows from Georgia, we need your help to track down the scoundrels that killed three Whooping Cranes on their initial migratory flight south from the breeding grounds. There's a mighty large reward being put up, $12,500 US Dollars to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of these poachers! (If you are able to get your hands on them before the authorities, lay a beating on them from me.) 

And why isn't Ducks Unlimited ponying up and helping out?!?!

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 were 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 on December 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

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, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge.

Biologists from the International Crane Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reared 11 other whooping cranes at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge released in the company of older cranes from whom the young birds learn the migration route. They were released on Oct. 25. 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 whooping cranes, 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 and here in the Southeast, visit .

USFWS: Tom MacKenzie, Mobile:(678) 296-6400
Georgia DNR: Rick Lavender, (770) 918-6787


Josh said...

DU would do well to pitch in to the reward.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about this tragic event and bringing everyone's attention to it.

Albert A Rasch said...


I wish some of the better known hunting organizations would put up a bounty for the capture of the SOBs. Why let the HSUS take all the credit for the reward?

I hope someone turns the bastards in and I hope the justice system throws them in a MaxSec prison with all those nice people...

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
In Afghanistan™

Anonymous said...

You know Albert it is senseless !@#$ like this that really pisses me off. I sincerely hope they catch who did this.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

Bion said...

You know, bud, this was probably way to say for sure at this point, but chances are. Why didn't the info say what kind of shooting? Birdshot, buckshot, .22, center fire? It might help to piece the pieces together...
I wouldn't let it trouble you so much if it was kids, chances are they had no idea what they were doing. Unfortunately, that's often the case with kids, and why they need supervision and attention.
As an aside, my granddad used to occasionally bag a whooper, and said they were really tasty....Me, I've never even tried one of the sandhills, and they are getting prolific enough to open season on them pretty soon. I sure do love to listen to them as they trill their songs up so high! Probably the best sound in the woods...

Josh said...

Bion, I live where the sandhills come in in hundreds, and you are right. That sound stirs my soul every time.

Albert A Rasch said...

I have a small swamp area near our home where the Sandhills roost in the evenings. Their calls are wonderful to hear. My understanding is that the Whooping Cranes' is even more haunting.

Kids or not, they need the book thrown at them. We need to teach everyone again that there are consequences for their actions. Our society has become permissive and exculpator; instead of dealing swift and merciless justice, we have allowed the system to cast blame on everything and everyone, except the perpetrator.

Best Regards,
Albert Rasch In Afghanistan™
Scouting for Hog, Chronicles Style!

Tovar@AMindfulCarnivore said...

Josh pointed me to this post, Albert. I'm glad he did.

What a crying shame. Every wildlife conservation group, along with every hunting group, should come down on this kind of thing like a ton of bricks.