The following report is forwarded with permission from Tom Stehn, USFWS biologist and US Whooping Crane Coordinator.
Where applicable, CWS stands for Canadian Wildlife Service; USFWS is US Fish and Wildlife Service. Crane monitoring involves cooperative efforts and support by both countries, plus many volunteers and non-profit organizations along the way.
Anyone wanting to contact Tom about the report or the whooping crane projects can reach him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Other information, including archived copies of these reports, can be found at the Texas Whooping Crane web site at http://www.ccbirding.com/
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U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Northern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MAY 14, 2004
DALLAS MAN SENTENCED TO 6 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR KILLING WHOOPING CRANE
United States Attorney Jane J. Boyle announced that Dallas resident, Donald W. Jones, was sentenced today by the Honorable Jerry Buchmeyer, United States Senior District Judge, to six months imprisonment and ordered to pay a $2000 fine, following his guilty plea in February 2004 to transporting wildlife taken and possessed in violation of law, in violation
of 16 U.S.C. §§ 3372(a)(1) and 3373(d)(2). Jones was also ordered to surrender all hunting privileges in the United States. He must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on July 19, 2004.
Jones admitted that on November 14, 2003, he knowingly transported various species of migratory birds, including a whooping crane, a Gadwall, a blue-winged teal and a northern shoveler, when he knew the wildlife was taken and possessed in violation of law, specifically the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Jones admitted that on November 14, 2003, a day that the regular Texas waterfowl hunting season was closed, he was duck hunting at Lake Bardwell in Ellis County, Texas. Lake Bardwell lies in a geographical zone of Texas closed to all crane hunting.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., a Texas Game Warden (TGW) contacted Jones as Jones was preparing his boat and truck to depart from Lake Bardwell. In response to the TGW's questions about what wildlife had been taken, Jones volunteered that he had killed three ducks. The TGW then observed a blue-winged teal, a hen shoveler, and a gadwall in the front of Jones' boat. The TGW asked Jones if he had killed any other wildlife, and Jones responded, "No." The TGW then began to examine various bags inside Jones' boat and truck and discovered a zippered bag containing a dead whooping crane underneath a piece of camouflage burlap. When questioned, Jones responded that he had always wanted to shoot a sandhill crane and admitted that he shot the whooping crane by mistake, believing it to be a sandhill crane.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whooping cranes are also listed as endangered under federal law. The crane recovered from Jones is believed to be one of four spotted in the Lake Bardwell area, south of Dallas, during the week of November 10, 2003. Biologists believe that the three remaining birds that remained in the area resumed their annual migration south for the winter. There are an estimated 400 wild whooping cranes within the United States. The other waterfowl in Jones' possession - Gadwall, blue-winged teal, and northern shoveler - are species that can legally be hunted during the waterfowl season in Texas. That season, however, was not open when the birds were killed.
U.S. Attorney Boyle praised the investigative efforts of agents of the USFWS and game wardens with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark D. McBride.
Elizabeth Slown, Public Affairs Specialist
Whooping Crane Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 100
Austwell, TX 77950
(361) 286-3559 Ext. 221
fax (361) 286-3722
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Patty Waits Beasley
Corpus Christi, TX