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North Florida Field Office

For Immediate Release

Date: November 20, 2000

Contact: Chuck Underwood 904/731-3332

Federal reward offered in whooping crane shooting

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the agency is offering a reward for information related to the killing of two whooping cranes. This is in addition to a reward reportedly being offered by a local Audubon Society chapter.

The whooping cranes, a federally-listed endangered species, were shot yesterday (Sunday) between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. off Pacetti Road, between CR208 and Hwy 16, in St. Johns County.

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) it is a federal crime to harm, harass or kill a federally-protected species. Violators face fines of up to $250,000 and up to six months in jail.

The two whooping cranes were part of a nonmigratory, experimental flock being established in central Florida.

The federal reward is payable for information which leads to an arrest and conviction of the violator(s) and is based on the adjudicated violator fine.

Anyone with information on this shooting should contact Resident Agent Joe Oliveros, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Branch, at 904-232-2580 extension 113 or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Services manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 520 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices, 64 Fishery Resource Offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitats such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

- FWS -

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Last modified November 20, 2000

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