Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reward Offered in Whooping Crane Killing in South Georgia

The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing three whooping cranes in Calhoun County, Ga. The HSUS offer is part of a total $12,500 offered for information that leads to a successful prosecution of the perpetrator(s).

The Case:

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on Dec. 30, hunters discovered three dead whooping cranes just west of Albany, Ga. According to a landowner in the area where the cranes were found, the birds had been in the area for several weeks before their death. The birds were sent to the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore. for necropsies and preliminary testing indicates that the birds had injuries consistent with gunshot wounds.

“This serious crime is an affront to the recovery of the species and we implore anyone with information to come forward,” said Jessica DuBois, Georgia senior state director for The HSUS. “The Humane Society of the United States commends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for their investigation.”

Whooping cranes are protected by state and federal law, including the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Poaching:

Wildlife officials estimate that for every wild animal killed legally — tens of millions of animals per year — another is killed illegally.
Every year, thousands of poachers are arrested nationwide; however, it is estimated that only 1 percent to 5 percent of poached animals are discovered by law enforcement.
Poachers injure or kill wildlife anytime, anywhere and sometimes do so in particularly cruel ways. Wildlife officials report that poachers often commit other crimes as well.
The HSUS and HSWLT work with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards of $2,500 for information leading to arrest and conviction of suspected poachers.
The Investigators:

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Terry Hasting at 404-763-7959 and/or the Georgia Department of Natural Resources 24 hour TIP Hotline at 1-800-241-4113.

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