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Reward Offered After Endangered Whooping Crane Killed

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The federal government is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the person who shot and killed an endangered whooping crane in a conservation area in Indiana.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said the bird appeared to have been killed with a high-powered rifle in the Goose Pond State Wildlife Area; a wetland and prairie habitat offering recreational fishing, bird-watching, and hunting. Tina Shaw, who's with the agency, said the bird was banded, had a radio transmitter, and had been tracked by scientists for several years.

"This bird was part of a population of endangered whooping cranes called the Eastern Population," said Shaw. "There are about 104 birds in that group."

These cranes migrate between Wisconsin and Florida, and the agency has been working to reintroduce this particular flock for several years.

"Tips from concerned citizens who might have witnessed something are a great foundation for finding out what really happened," Shaw said.

According to Shaw, there are about 500 endangered whopping cranes in the U.S.

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