Two teens accused of killing whooping cranes

Published: Oct. 12, 2011 at 8:21 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2011 at 1:53 PM EDT
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Senseless. That's how Dale Richter describes the deaths of two endangered whooping cranes in Louisiana.

"This is two birds out of ten that were put in Louisiana, by humans, trying to restore population. So you got one-fifth of those birds that are gone right off the bat in the first year," said Richter.

Louisiana authorities think two juveniles shot the cranes.

Witnesses say the two teen boys opened fire from their truck, killing the birds.

Richter is the Vice chairman of Operation Migration, which leads a flock of endangered whooping cranes from Wisconsin to a wildlife refuge in Florida each year.

He wants to get the word out not to hurt these animals.

"We've been trying to put out to the public and trying to get into schools and educate children, and through them educate the parents about the birds and how important they are," said Richter.

This story hits close to home for Richter because last year several whooping cranes were killed right here in Southwest Georgia.

"We had three here in Calhoun County last year and two in Alabama so that's seven or eight birds, in the last year, that we've lost," said Richter.

Richter says if you ever come in contact with a whooping crane, call the Georgia Department of Natural Recourses immediately and do not try to touch or pet the animal, and certainly don't do anything to hurt one.

A reward of $21,800 is still up for anybody who has any information leading to a conviction in the Calhoun County case.

Whooping cranes are the most endangered of all of the world's crane species and were added as an endangered species in 1967.

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