Wildlife Agencies Investigating the Deaths of 3 Whooping Cranes in South Georgia

By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Release
By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Release

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are investigating the suspicious deaths of three whooping cranes in south Georgia.

The cranes were found and reported by hunters in Calhoun County, just west of Albany, Ga., on Dec 30, 2010. The landowner reported the cranes had been in the area for a few weeks before they found them dead just before New Year’s Eve.

Necropsies are expected to be completed in about two weeks.

The cranes are part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership effort to reintroduce whooping cranes into the eastern United States. These three cranes were released in October 2010 with seven other first-year birds in Wisconsin as part of the Direct Autumn Release program. They generally follow other older whooping cranes and sometime sandhill cranes during the fall migration to find suitable wintering habitat. They were banded and equipped with transmitters and were part of the ultralight aircraft-led migration effort.

Any information concerning the deaths of these cranes should be provided to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Terry Hasting at 404-763-7959 (ext. 233).

For more information about the reintroduction effort, visit http://www.bringbackthecranes.org.

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  • by Elizabeth Location: Valdosta on Jan 5, 2011 at 06:05 PM
    What a terrible loss. These are beautiful, the most enormous, and the most endangered of all birds in North America. There were only 14 left in the world in the 1940's, and it has taken over 60 years of dedicated work to get the population up to around 90 cranes in the eastern migratory population. They are not reproducing in the wild as hoped, and thus are circling the drain of extinction. Many people are dedicating themselves to trying to re-establish and save them. The loss of three birds is an enormous tragedy. And if shooting is determined as the cause of their deaths, the entire state of Georgia (unfairly) will be vilified as a bunch of ignorant redneck idiots.
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