Five endangered cranes have been killed in three months - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Five endangered cranes have been killed in three months

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - In three months five endangered Whooping Cranes have been killed in our region.

There are fewer than 100 on the eastern migration path to Florida.

Late last year three birds were found shot in Calhoun County. The latest discovery in Alabama is yet another setback in their fight for survival.

"They are 5 to 6ft. tall the largest bird in North America," said Dale Richter, Operation Migration Board Member.

People have been killing the cranes, the latest death Weiss Lake Alabama's total brings to two.

"To have three killed in Georgia and two in Alabama is a pretty significant percentage of those birds," said Cptn. Jeff Swift, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

The DNR is one of the agencies looking into the Calhoun County killings. Both South Georgia and North Alabama are on the crane's migratory path.

"Weiss Lake where they were found is up on the north end of Alabama," said Swift.

Dale Richter is a board member of Operation Migration. They help train the birds to migrate from Wisconsin to Florida.

"We guide them down each year with ultralights, one flock at a time," said Richter.

Each is birds is critical to the species survival, a lesson Richter teaches his son.

"We've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on these birds and then someone goes out and kills them, it's a waste of money and resources," said Taylor Richter.

So far law enforcers in Georgia or Alabama have yet to find the killers.

Alabama is offering more than $23,000 for information on the killings. So far, Georgia's reward fund is $20,800.

If you know anything, call the regional Wildlife Resource Division office at (229) 430-4252.

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