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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release

Citizen Tip Helps Close the Knox County Whooping Crane Case


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    
December 4, 2012   

Whooping crane pair in pond at International Crane Foundation.

Photo by USFWS; Joel Trick


Tina Shaw, 612-713-5331 


A citizen tip helps bring closure in the case of a whooping crane shooting in Indiana. John Burke and Jason McCarter of Knox County, Indiana pled guilty and were sentenced on November 21, 2012 for their involvement in the shooting of a whooping crane in Knox County, Indiana. 


Wildlife law enforcement agents with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement and Indiana Department of Natural Resources investigated the case and report that a plea agreement has been reached. The crane was last observed alive by an International Crane Foundation volunteer on Saturday, January 07, 2012. On January 21, 2012, an Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer received voluntary information from a citizen concerning the possible shooting of a whooping crane which led to charges against McCarter and Burke.


The whooping crane killed was taught its migratory path by ultra light aircraft and belonged to a nesting pair and was one of approximately 100 birds left in the eastern fly way. 


Burke and McCarter were charged and sentenced in United States District Court, in Terre Haute, Ind. As part of the plea agreement, Burke and McCarter each received: three years probation, are required to pay a donation of $5,000 to the International Crane Foundation, must perform 120 hours community service at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area and are not allowed to hunt during the term of the probation. 


In addition to the Endangered Species Act, whooping cranes are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and state laws. An investigation into the killing of a second whooping crane in Jackson County continues. Anyone with information can call the Turn In A Poacher hotline at 1-800-TIP-IDNR.


To learn more about USFWS wildlife conservation efforts, visit: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/LawEnforcement/.


For more information about whooping crane recovery and the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, visit: http://www.bringbackthecranes.org/.


For more information on the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visit http://midwest.fws.gov.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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