$12,500 reward offered for information on shooting of endangered whooping crane

EVANGELINE PARISH — Multiple agencies, including the Dallas Zoo, are coming together for a large reward for information on the shooting death of a juvenile whooping crane. That baby had been released into Louisiana in Nov. 2023 and was killed two months later.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are looking for leads regarding an endangered whooping crane that was found dead in January 2024 in Evangeline Parish.

It was January 9, 2024 when a baby whooping crane was found dead in an agricultural pond on the south side of Besi Lane in Mamou. A necropsy determined that the crane was shot, which resulted in a fracture of the spine and internal hemorrhaging.

A total of $12,500 is being offered by various organizations for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal shooting of this whooping crane.  The reward includes the USFWS offering up to $5,000, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation up to $2,500, the International Crane Foundation up to $2,500 and the Dallas Zoo up to $2,500.

Three baby cranes looking for food

Anyone with information about this case should call the USFWS at 985-882-3756 or the LDWF Lake Charles Office at 337-491-2588. Callers can remain anonymous if they choose.

LDWF and its partners have released 167 whooping cranes in the state since 2011 in an effort to reintroduce the birds to the state. Another 30 cranes have been hatched and reared in the wild or translocated to Louisiana from a previously reintroduced population in Florida.

The Louisiana population is currently estimated to be 81 whooping cranes. This reintroduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950.

Whooping cranes are the most endangered of the world’s crane species. The Louisiana flock is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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