Mar 15, 2024 - News

💰 Reward offered in whooping crane killing

A baby whooping crane

A rare whooping crane chick, the first born at the Dallas Zoo, was found dead on Jan. 9 in Louisiana. Photo: Courtesy of Dallas Zoo

A whooping crane hatched at the Dallas Zoo and released into the wild was found fatally shot in Louisiana, the zoo announced this week.

Why it matters: Whooping cranes are among the rarest species of birds, protected under the Endangered Species Act. Harming one is a federal crime.

  • The crane, born in June 2023, was the Dallas Zoo's first successful hatching of the species.

The latest: The crane was found dead, with a gunshot wound, on Jan. 9, in Mamou, Louisiana, according to the zoo.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are investigating.
  • A $12,500 reward — contributed by various organizations including the zoo — is being offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of anyone responsible.

Flashback: The bird was released into its habitat in Louisiana in November as part of the zoo's conservation efforts with the Whooping Crane Center of Texas.

Stunning stat: At approximately 5 feet tall, the whooping crane is the tallest bird in North America.

What they're saying: "The impact of this significant loss is felt by everyone involved," zoo officials said in a statement to Axios.

Go deeper: Read this 2016 Texas Monthly story about the many challenges facing the people trying to save whooping cranes.

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