whooping crane
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Reward Being Offered for Leads in Indiana Whooping Crane Poaching

Rare whooping crane poached in Indiana.

One of the rarest birds in North America, the whooping crane, is now one fewer after one was poached in Indiana over New Year's weekend.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believe the five-year-old crane, better known as crane 4-11, was killed by a rifle shot in Greene County. The incident happened near Lyons. Officials still have to confirm how the bird died with an investigation of its body at an Oregon forensic lab.

The help catch the person or persons responsible, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to a conviction in the case.

Anyone with information on this latest shooting is encouraged to call 317-346-7017.

To put in perspective the rarity, only 35 cranes have been confirmed in Indiana this year. Only around 100 are believed to compromise the eastern population of the birds.

"The loss of a breeding female is tragic for this population," said Anne Lacy of the International Crane Foundation. "This female not only successfully hatched a chick this year but also raised the chick to near independence on her own. This shooting isn't just the loss of an individual in this population, it is a loss of future generations that this female would have produced."

The crane had been wintering the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. Another whooping crane was shot in this area in 2009. Whooping cranes are so rare, that even the hatching of a single chick can make big headlines.