CAYUGA, Ind., Dec. 11 (UPI) — One of only about 500 whooping cranes remaining in the world has been killed in Indiana, wildlife law enforcement agents said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are investigating the shooting of the crane near Cayuga, The (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star reported Wednesday.
The crane, which was identified by a leg band, was shot between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1, The Tribune-Star said. It was 7 years old and the mother of “Wild-1″ — a chick hatched in 2006 that is the only whooping crane to have been born in captivity and successfully released into the wild.
The dead crane and its mate were among 19 whooping cranes that migrate from Wisconsin in the summer to Florida for the winter.
“To kill and abandon one of 500 remaining members of species shows a lack of reverence for life and an absence of simple common sense,” said John Christian of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “It is inconceivable that someone would have such little regard for conservation.”
Whooping cranes are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as well as by Indiana law.
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