Kentucky is offering a $7,200 reward to anyone who can lead authorities to the person or people responsible for shooting two endangered whooping cranes that arrived in the state this winter.
The two 5-foot (1.5-meter) tall, pure white birds, who were mates, were killed around Thanksgiving in central Kentucky, according to U.S. officials. The shooters could face up to a $100,000 fine and a year in jail.
Fewer than 500 whooping cranes live in the wild in the United States, making them the world’s most endangered crane species, said Tom MacKenzie a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday. Only seven spend their winters in Kentucky.
Joe Duff, the co-founder of Operation Migration, an organization that helps young whooping cranes on their first migration from Wisconsin to Florida, called the shooters “vandals that want to kill something, putting their own moods, feelings and aggressions on a creature…