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      Reward grows in whooping crane killings near Albany

      Updated: Friday, March 11 at 6:20 p.m.

      The reward for information on the three dead whooping cranes from December is now $22,800.

      The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources continue to look for tips that lead to catching those who shot the whooping cranes.

      If you have any information concerning their deaths, contact Special Agent Terry Hasting with the Fish and Wildlife Service at (404) 763-7959.

      Original story

      Members of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Board and the state DNR Foundation have donated an additional $4,800 to a reward fund for information in the killings of three migrating whooping cranes near Albany .

      Three of the endangered birds were found shot to death in Calhoun County, Ga. in December. The reward in the case now totals $20,800. Dan Forster, wildlife resources director for the Georgia DNR, said a landowner in the Southwest Georgia county contacted his office after the birds were found dead on his property.

      The cranes were part of a group of 11 released in Wisconsin in October and were migrating to Florida. Authorities say there are about 570 whooping cranes left in the world, about 400 in the wild.

      This isn't the only time whooping cranes have been shot and killed. FOX 31 News discovered that a similar tragedy took place in Florida in December 2009. The St. Petersburg Times has more details.