News Release
Southeast Region


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Wildlife Agencies Investigating the Deaths of Three Whooping Cranes in South Georgia

January 6, 2011

USFWS: Tom MacKenzie, (404) 679-7291
Georgia DNR: Rick Lavender, (770) 918-6787

A white whooping crane contrasts starkly with a blue-gray background

Whooping crane at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Ryan Hagerty, USFWS. Download from our Digital Library.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are investigating the suspicious deaths of three whooping cranes in south Georgia.

The cranes were found and reported by hunters in Calhoun County, just west of Albany, Ga., on Dec 30, 2010. The landowner reported the cranes had been in the area for a few weeks before they found them dead just before New Year’s Eve.

Necropsies are expected to be completed in about two weeks.

The cranes are part of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership effort to reintroduce whooping cranes into the eastern United States. These three cranes were released in October 2010 with seven other first-year birds in Wisconsin as part of the Direct Autumn Release program. They generally follow other older whooping cranes and sometime sandhill cranes during the fall migration to find suitable wintering habitat. They were banded and equipped with transmitters and were not part of the ultralight aircraft-led migration effort.

Any information concerning the deaths of these cranes should be provided to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Terry Hasting at 404-763-7959 (ext. 233).

For more information about the reintroduction effort, visit


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Last updated: January 6, 2011