JEFF DAVIS PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Two whooping cranes were found dead after Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said two juveniles allegedly shot them.
Biologist Supervisor for the LDWF at White Lake Wetlands Conservation area Carrie Salyers said the loss of the two cranes takes an emotional toll on those associated with hatching and raising the cranes to be released into the wild.
"The rarity of this bird and the time and energy it takes to raise these animals certainly is disheartening how much time can be associated to getting them to such a good point to be released and how quickly they can be removed," Salyers aid.
Ten cranes were released in the White Lake area back in March. Today there are only five birds left with one unaccounted for.
"They're the world's most endangered crane," Salyers said. "There are fewer than 600 individual left in the world."
The 5-foot-tall birds released in Louisiana are non-migratory birds and will stay in Louisiana year-round. The flock is protected under state law and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act making any hunting on the whooping crane illegal.
Salyers said a situation like this will not affect the release of another flock of whooping cranes in the White Lake area. She said close to 15 birds are expected to be released in December.
The case is still under investigation. No charges have been made as of yet.