Man Gets Fine, Probation in Whooping Crane's Death

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CORPUS CHRISTI, TX - A Dallas man has been sentenced to a year of probation after he pleaded guilty to killing a whooping crane, a federally protected species of endangered waterfowl.

Worthey D. Wiles pleaded guilty in Corpus Christi on Wednesday to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. U.S. Magistrate Janice Ellington also ordered the 42-year-old Dallas man to pay a $5,000 fine and a $10,000 community-service payment to the nonprofit Friends of Aransas and Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuges.

Court papers show Wiles was a guest hunter at a Rockport hunting club when he shot and killed the juvenile crane. He told game wardens he thought the whooper was a sandhill crane.

Whooping cranes are among the world's rarest birds with a total population of about 437 in the wild.