"North America's tallest bird, with a population of about 600, has lost three adults to gunfire in recent months, 'senselessly' undercutting plans to breed a thriving population of the radiant white whooping crane, wildlife authorities say."
"Decades of research and millions of dollars have been spent by government and private organizations to revive the species, whose population shrank to 23 in 1954, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The deaths of the whooping cranes in Kentucky and Louisiana bring the number of intentional killings of the endangered birds to at least 19 since 2001. That exceeds the average number of cranes - 13 - released into the wild each year by conservationists, according to Operation Migration."