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Whooping Crane Shooting Investigations Centered on Indiana County

Photo by Michael Huebschen from

By the 1940s, whooping cranes were almost extinct. In 2008, there 525 birds in existence, 375 of them in the wild according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). There is an organization

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible.

A reward is being offered for information about one of the majestic birds killing in December, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources TIP Advisory Board, are looking for information regarding the shooting of one of the federally and state-protected whooping cranes. The crane was probably shot in southern Greene County, Indiana, near the White River around late December 2013.

operation migration whooping

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.

“The protection of our natural resources is our top priority,” said Indiana TIP President Joe Cales. “We encourage our citizens to be active in reporting those who commit crimes against our wildlife resources and we are happy to offer this reward for information that identifies the responsible party.”

Whooping cranes are protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Indiana law. Whooping cranes are North America’s tallest birds, standing more than 5 feet in height. The whooping crane in this open case was part of an effort to re-establish a flock on a migratory path between Wisconsin and Florida.[pullquote]Migrating whooping cranes from the Wisconsin flock pass through Illinois in the Spring and Fall, but their whereabouts is not widely publicized to prevent people from bothering them, on purpose or just by getting too close to them because of curiosity.[/pullquote]

An update on the story from the Greene County Daily World said that Indiana Conservation Officer Mike Gregg said the whooping crane was shot in southern Greene County along the White River south of Lyons.

Gregg explained that officials who had been tracking the bird electronically, discovered its remains after no visible sign of the bird could be found.

The electronic signal emitted by a tag that had been previously placed around the Crane’s neck to eventually locate where the remains were hidden.

“It was obvious somebody shot it,” he said. “We believe there were hunters in the area and that once they shot it they buried it, realizing they had made a mistake.”

Gregg said the Crane was part of an effort to re-establish a flock of the migratory birds.

“There’s only 400 birds left,” he said. “We can’t keep shooting them.”

“This wildlife crime is significant in that it has undermined the tireless efforts put toward the recovery of the whooping crane in the Midwest,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Assistant Special Agent in Charge Warren Buhl. “We are very interested in any information regarding this illegal act.”

We encourage anyone with information to come forward. Investigations have been solved with information that was originally thought of as insignificant. If you have information, you can reach law enforcement officers at 1-800-TIP-IDNR 847-4367 or 317-346-7016. For more information on the Midwest region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit

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