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Alleged Shooter of Endangered Whooping Cranes to be Prosecuted Under Endangered Species Act
International Crane Foundation Commends Federal Prosecutors
Texas – The case against the alleged shooter of two endangered Whooping Cranes in Texas last month has been re-filed under the Endangered Species Act, which increases the likelihood of larger penalties for the crime. It was previously thought that the case against Mr. Trey Frederick would be tried solely as a Class B Misdemeanor under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which was widely considered an insufficient course of action.
“If we hope to deter future shootings, perpetrators must be prosecuted vigorously. In all cases of Whooping Crane shootings, we demand justice for the birds that were killed, restitution for the enormous effort needed to bring them back, and personal penalties that match the seriousness of the crime,” said Rich Beilfuss, President & CEO of the International Crane Foundation.
In the 1940s, there were as low as 21 Whooping Cranes left in the wild. With enormous conservation and reintroduction efforts, their numbers have slowly increased to over 430 total in the wild. The two cranes deliberately shot in Texas were members of the recently reintroduced Louisiana flock, which numbers just about 30 individuals. Over the past five years, more than 20 Whooping Cranes have been shot and killed in the United States.
“Whooping Cranes are an iconic species, central to our shared natural heritage. We are grateful to the thousands of citizens who have demanded justice in this case and thank federal authorities for continuing to pursue a just outcome. It’s our hope that by working together, we can prevent future tragedies like these shootings,” Beilfuss added.
The International Crane Foundation plays a leading role in the conservation of Whooping Cranes, from captive breeding and release programs, habitat protection, citizen education and engagement, and threat reduction along their flyways. Learn more about the International Crane Foundation and our work to protect Endangered Whooping Cranes at www.savingcranes.org.