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Ind. man pleads guilty in whooping crane’s death

NEWPORT, Ind. (AP) — A western Indiana man and a juvenile have pleaded guilty in the death of a whooping crane shot as the endangered bird was migrating from Wisconsin to Florida.

According to officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wade Bennett of Cayuga pleaded guilty March 30 in Vermillion County to false reporting and was ordered to serve one year of probation and pay about $500 in fines and fees.

The juvenile, considered the prime suspect in the bird’s death, also received probation, fines and fees.

Bennett was 18 when the crane was found dead on Dec. 1, 2009. The female, one of less than 400 whooping cranes left in the wild, was the mother of the first whooping crane chick successfully hatched and fledged in the wild by cranes raised in captivity.

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