Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 24, 2017

Contact: Collette Adkins, (651) 955-3821,

Reward Increased to $15,000 for Information on Illegal Killing of Endangered Whooping Crane in Indiana    

INDIANAPOLIS— The Center for Biological Diversity today added $5,000 to the reward for information leading to a conviction or fine in the latest illegal killing of an endangered whooping crane in Indiana, bringing the total reward offered to $15,000. The bird was found shot to death earlier this month in rural Indiana, making it the fifth crane illegally shot in the state since 2009.   

Investigators believe the 5-year-old female crane was shot with a high-powered rifle near the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in southwestern Indiana. The cranes, which are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, visit the state-owned prairie and marsh lands each winter on their migration.

“It's a sad injustice to all of us that someone would gun down this beautiful, endangered bird,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist with the Center. “This shooting reminds us that whooping cranes still face many threats to their survival and recovery.”

Indiana has had more illegal shooting deaths than any other state among the eastern migratory population of whooping cranes. Each shooting death is a loss to recovery efforts; the crane killed this month had just reached breeding age and was expected to raise a chick this year. Only about 100 whooping cranes remain in the eastern population, which was reintroduced in 2001.

“We're adding to this reward because whooping cranes are a critical part of America's heritage, and we shouldn't let a few killers deny future generations their opportunity to see these animals in the wild,” Adkins said.

The whooping crane is North America's tallest bird, with males standing nearly 5 feet tall. When the snowy-white birds are alarmed, they make a loud, single-note vocalization, which is the likely origin of their common name. Threats include habitat degradation and destruction, shooting, power-line collisions and the limited genetics of the remaining population.

These illegal killings can result in fines up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison. Anyone with information can call the Indiana conservation officer dispatch number at (812) 837-9536 or the state's poacher hotline at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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