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Friday, January 28, 2011 - 11:01am

Reward Increased For Crane Deaths

Updated: 3 years ago.
Costumed person working with Whooping Cranes at ICF (photo courtesy International Crane Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin)

Wildlife officials have increased a reward for information on who shot and killed three Whooping Cranes near Albany. It’s now up to nearly 21-thousand dollars.

At the end of December hunters discovered the bodies of three Whooping Cranes. There are only 400 of this endangered bird still living in the wild. The three who died were part of a group of ten who left a Wisconsin sanctuary in November.

Marianne Wellington with the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin raised the birds named Gouda, Fontina, and Saganaki. She says she had to dress like "crane mom" to feed and nurture the birds.

“We raise the crane chicks wearing costumes and try to have them not be interested in people and try to have them be as wild as possible which is a challenge because it’s people raising them.”

Wellington says five of the birds have left Georgia, but two are still here, living where the others were shot. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is leading the investigation.