Whooping Crane Updates: Shooting in Indiana Sentenced - International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation


Whooping Crane Updates: Shooting in Indiana Sentenced


May 16, 2011 Update

ICF is deeply disheartened by the recent sentencing in the killing of Whooping Crane #17-02 in Indiana. The young man and a juvenile who shot and killed this bird were sentenced to probation, court fees around $550, and a $1 fine.  This sentencing does not reflect the importance of endangered species conservation and the large investments made by those involved in the Whooping Crane recovery effort.  It is difficult to place a value on an endangered species. In this instance, however, the actual cost of rearing and releasing this one Whooping Crane is estimated to be over $110,000. 

The Whooping Crane Recovery Plan states, “Value for the Whooping Crane derives not only from its aesthetic qualities and rarity, but probably more directly from its identity as a symbol of the effort to save species from extinction.”  The court did not acknowledge this crane’s significant value, and lost a clear opportunity to send a strong educational message to deter tragedies like this in the future.  While we cannot undo the Indiana court’s decision, we can all work to raise awareness through education about Whooping Cranes and the importance of endangered species conservation efforts, with the goal of overcoming the lack of understanding that this unfortunate incident demonstrates.

FacebookContinue the Conversation: For further thoughts on this issue, read What Price Do We Put on an Endangered Bird? on Smithsonian.com (April 26, 2011). Share your thoughts on ICF’s Facebook Page. 


Step One: Raising CranesLearn more about ICF’s “Five Steps to Save Whooping Cranes”.

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April 19, 2011

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week the sentencing of two individuals in the 2009 shooting of Whooping Crane #17-02 in Indiana (view the press release). A citizen came forward in spring 2010 with a tip, which was instrumental to the investigation and resulted in the closing of the case.

Number 17-02 was the female in the “First Family” pair – the pair that successfully fledged the first wild-hatched Whooping Crane chick in the eastern migratory population in 2006 (below, photo by Richard Urbanek, USFWS). 

“With fewer than 400 whooping cranes in the wild, every bird is important in our efforts to keep this species from extinction, and this particular bird was extremely valuable to the recovery program: this unnecessary killing is a setback. It is encouraging there are so many citizens across the country who continue to champion the Whooping Crane recovery and can help prevent this from happening again,” said a researcher quoted in the press release.

Click on the Whooping Crane Updates below for additional information about the “First Family” and the shooting:

Whooping Crane Chicks Hatch at Necedah (June 23, 2006)

First Family Tragedy (December 3, 2009)

Investigation of Shooting of 17-02 (December 9, 2009)