Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents are still looking for leads regarding an endangered whooping crane that was shot in Jefferson Davis Parish in mid-November of 2019.
The crane was found on Nov. 15, 2019 in Elton off of Elton Dr. The crane was then sent in for a necropsy where it was determined to have been killed by a gunshot earlier that day or the previous day.
Up to $10,000 is being offered by various groups for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal shooting of this whooping crane. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation is offering up to a $2,500 reward. LDWF's Operation Game Thief program and the Whooping Crane Conservation Association are each offering a reward of up to $1,000. LDWF also received a $5,000 private donation from Dave Weeshoff and a $500 donation for the reward from the International Crane Foundation.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal shooting should call the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511 or use LDWF's tip411 program. To use the tip411 program, residents can text LADWF and their tip to 847411 or download the "LADWF Tips" app. The hotline and the tip411 are monitored 24 hours a day. Upon request, informants can remain anonymous.
LDWF with support from partners has released 158 whooping cranes since 2011 to reintroduce the birds to the state. The population is currently estimated to be 76 whooping cranes. This reintroduced population marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the wild in Louisiana since 1950. The crane in this case was released in December of 2018.
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.