The large birds were discovered near the corner of Compton and Radio Tower roads north of Roanoke, according to information from Wildlife and Fisheries.
The shooting is believed to have happened sometime Thursday, leaving a female crane dead and a male crane with an injured wing, according to Wildlife and Fisheries.
The whooping cranes were brought here as part of a project launched in 2011 to reintroduce the endangered birds to the south Louisiana marshes where they roosted decades ago.
Three other cranes have been found shot and killed since the reintroduction began, two in 2011 in Jefferson Davis Parish and one in 2013 in Red River Parish, said Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Adam Einck.
Two juveniles were blamed for the 2011 shootings, but the outcome of any prosecution has not been disclosed because of laws that keep juvenile cases confidential.
Einck said no one has been arrested in the shooting in Red River Parish.
“Anytime we lose one of these cranes it sets us back in our efforts to restore the whooping crane population back to its historic levels in Louisiana,” Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham said in a written statement. “These were once native birds to Louisiana and the department would like to see these cranes thrive again in the future with a sustainable population.”
Of the 50 whooping cranes introduced since 2011 at White Lakes Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish, wildlife researchers are still tracking 31, and the fate of most of the others is unknown, Einck said.
Anyone with information on the recent shooting is asked to call 1 (800) 442-2511.
Wildlife and Fisheries’ Operation Game Thief has announced a $1,000 reward for information about the this week shooting that leads to an arrest.