RAYNE — Rewards of up to $9,000 are being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the shooting deaths of two endangered whooping cranes found last month south of Rayne, state wildlife officials said Thursday.
The cranes were found near LA 35 on the morning of May 20, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The cranes were recovered and sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab.
Both cranes were re-introduced into the wild in December 2015, when researchers released the cranes in the coastal marsh in Vermilion Parish, the LDWF stated in a news release.
Their release marked the first presence of whooping cranes in the Louisiana wild since 1950, according to the LADWF.
Anyone with information in the killings can submit a tip 24 hours a day by calling the Louisiana Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-442-2511. Anyone may also text their tip to the LDWF at 847711 or download the “LADWF Tips” app.
LDWF’s Operation Game Thief program and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation are each offering a reward of up to $1,000; The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering up to $5,000.
LDWF also received a total of $2,000 from private donations.