Reward Offered for Information on Whooping Crane Shooting in Louisiana

Wanted: Information on Louisiana Whooping Crane shooting! The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are looking for leads regarding an Endangered Whooping Crane, L4-23, that was found with a fatal gunshot wound on Jan. 9th near Mamou, Louisiana.

Whooping Crane pair with chick
Whooping Crane pair Slash and Anzac, the biological parents of L4-23, at our headquarters with Whirligig, a chick they raised for release in Wisconsin in 2022. International Crane Foundation

The young crane’s egg was the third of four eggs laid in 2023 by experienced Whooping Crane pair Anzac and Slash at our headquarters in Wisconsin. On day 26 of its incubation, the egg was transferred to the Dallas Zoo’s Whooping Crane Center of Texas, and its hatch made news as the first-ever successful hatching of a Whooping Crane at the Zoo. Foster parents Huckleberry and Juniper raised the chick in Texas, and the juvenile crane joined the wild population in Louisiana in Nov. 2023. The young crane was in the wild less than two months before it was shot.

Juvenile Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane L4-23 prior to release in Louisiana. The young crane still has a mix of juvenile cinnamon and adult white feathers. Sara Zimorski/Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

A total of $12,500 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for this illegal shooting. The reward includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offering up to $5,000, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation up to $2,500, the International Crane Foundation up to $2,500, and the Dallas Zoo up to $2,500.

Juvenile Whooping Crane
L4-23 shortly after release in Louisiana. Sara Zimorski/Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Anyone with information about this case should call the USFWS at 985-882-3756 or the LDWF Lake Charles Office at 337-491-2588.

Whooping Cranes are the most endangered of the world’s crane species, and the Louisiana Whooping Crane population is currently estimated to be 81 individuals. The flock is designated as a non-essential, experimental population but is protected under state law, the Endangered Species Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.