A federal judge came down hard on a Beaumont teen who shot and killed two rare whooping cranes earlier this year.
The judge sentenced 19-year-old Trey Frederick to five years probation, 200 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine. The money will be split between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the International Crane Foundation.
Frederick was also ordered to turn over all firearms and give up his hunting license for the next five years.
Whooping cranes are migratory birds and are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act making it unlawful to capture, kill, or attempt to capture or kill in the United States.
Only about 450 whooping cranes exist in the wild across North America, according to the International Crane Foundation.
““This was not hunting. This was an act of criminal vandalism,” said Rich Beilfuss, President and CEO of the ICF. “We hope the decision will be a strong deterrent to anyone considering a similar crime.”
Unregulated hunting and habitat loss forced whooping Cranes to the brink of extinction and there were only 21 in the wild in 1944. They are making a slow and steady comeback thanks to the efforts of ICF and others.