According to the Austin Statesman, another whooping crane has been shot and killed. The bird was shot earlier this winter, in the southern part of Texas.
That the newspaper isn’t able to get many details about the shooting isn’t too surprising, since it’s a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigation.
The agency that is funded by the American public, is really good at keeping details away from the American public until nearly all aspects of an investigation, and the following process of justice, are complete. Facts will come out, though, and they’ll probably be spot-on.
Unfortunately this isn’t the first time in recent history that whooping cranes have been shot and killed. As the article states, one was shot in South Dakota about a year ago … and the guy was just fined more than $80,000 for the crime.
During a span of about 16 months, five or six were shot in eastern states in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Three of those birds were found dead at about the same time, in the same county in Georgia, in 2003. It’s interesting those shootings got very little national media attention.
A poacher who shot one in Indiana was fined $1 for the crime.
No doubt the most infamous whooping crane shootings occurred in Stafford County in 2004, when a party of goose and sandhill crane hunters turned into a party of poachers when they supposedly mistook three whoopers for sandhill cranes.
I’ll try to keep you informed as this most recent case in Texas develops.