Reward $20,000 for information on who shot whooping cranes

Whooping cranes are photographed at the Audubon Institute Zoo in New Orleans in 2004. Permanent quarters for the world's rarest crane - only 400 to 500 exist -are still under construction near the entrance. Sometime during the American Zoo Association meeting on Sept. 18-22, the Audubon Institute will open the new whooping crane exhibit with a wide, shallow pond in front and a grassy area across the back. (AP Photo/Audubon Institute, David Bull)       Keyword Bird Show caption
Whooping cranes are photographed at the Audubon Institute Zoo in New Orleans in 2004. Permanent quarters for the world's rarest crane - only 400 to 500 exist -are still under construction near the entrance. Sometime during the American Zoo Association meeting on Sept. 18-22, the Audubon Institute will open the new whooping crane exhibit with a wide, shallow pond in front and a grassy area across the back. (AP Photo/Audubon Institute, David Bull) Keyword Bird

Wildlife and Fisheries offers $20,000 for information on who shot endangered birds

Information about the shooting of two endangered whooping cranes in Jefferson Davis Parish could be worth $20,000.

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced the new reward Monday, pushing it up from the $15,000 offered last month for a tip leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

“We are still seeking information. It is still an ongoing investigation,” Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Adam Einck said.

The two endangered whooping cranes were found shot on Feb. 7 in Jefferson Davis Parish near Compton and Radio Tower Roads north of Roanoke.

One of the birds was dead when discovered.

The other crane initially survived but later died at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, where it had been taken for treatment.

The two cranes were among 50 that were brought to White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish as part of a project to re-establish a population of the large birds in the south Louisiana marshes where they once thrived.

The cranes, which can grow up to 5 feet tall with a 7-foot wingspan, are a federally protected species in the U.S.

Three other cranes were shot and killed since the reintroduction project began in 2011.

Two of those shootings also were in Jefferson Davis Parish in 2011; the third was in Red River Parish in 2013.

Wildlife officials have said two juveniles were responsible for the 2011 shootings.

No one has been arrested in the Red River Parish case.

The reward in the recent case in Jefferson Davis Parish started at $1,000 but was increased thanks, in part, to donations from a list of private individuals and nonprofit groups that includes the Humane Society of the United States, International Crane Foundation, Audubon Nature Institute and San Antonio Zoo.

“More people are getting involved,” Einck said.

Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call (800) 442-2511.

For information about the whooping crane reintroduction project, visitwlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/whooping-cranes.