One whooping crane on migration will never make it to its nesting grounds in Canada this year. According to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, the bird was fatally shot in South Dakota on April 20. Multiple rewards in excess of $10,000 are being offered for information that leads to the shooter's conviction, and anyone with information about this crime can call 888-683-7224 or (605) 224-9045 to report tips, anonymously if they so choose.
There are fewer than 650 whooping cranes in the wild today, making these large cranes one of the most critically endangered birds in the world. The bird that was killed had successfully mated and raised offspring previously. These birds are strongly protected under multiple laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Act.
Have you seen a wild whooping crane? Share your sightings in the comments!
Photo © Ryan Hagerty/USFWS