Rare whooping crane found shot dead in NE Alabama

One of the rare whooping cranes used in experimental human-led migration has been found shot dead in Northeast Alabama near Weiss Lake.

Alabama wildlife officials issued a statement this afternoon saying the bird was found in Cherokee County, Ala., on Jan. 28.

The crane, designated 12-04 and equipped with a transmitter, was a male raised in Wisconsin and taught to migrate south behind ultralight aircraft flown by Operation Migration.

Officials are offering a $6,000 reward for information on the death

Scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Ore., are conducting a necropsy on the bird.

The federal wildlife service also is investigating the fatal shooting of three whooping cranes near Albany, Ga., sometime in December.

See Thursday's Times Free Press for complete coverage.