The Latest on a man sentenced for killing a whooping crane (all times local):
A Louisiana man has been sentenced to probation for killing one of the state’s oldest whooping cranes.
In a hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol B. Whitehurst, Gilvin P. Aucoin Jr. changed his plea to guilty for a misdemeanor violation of the International Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He shot a whooping crane in July 2018 in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana.
Whitehurst sentenced Aucoin to two years’ probation, during which time he cannot hunt or fish, and 120 hours community service to be served with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Aucoin also must complete a hunter education course.
International Crane Foundation President and CEO Rich Beilfuss, in a statement, said his group was concerned that “soft penalties like this … send the wrong message and do not serve as a deterrent to future shootings of whooping cranes or other threatened species.”
A man accused of killing one of Louisiana’s oldest whooping cranes is scheduled to change his plea and face sentencing in the state where more of the endangered birds have been killed than any other.
Gilvin Aucoin Jr.’s public defender notified the federal court in Lafayette on Oct. 1 that Aucoin wanted to change his plea from not guilty of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in July 2018.
Two International Crane Foundation staffers plan to attend the hearing Friday. Lizzie Condon says they want a sentence that will deter others. She says nine whoopers have been killed in Louisiana since 2011, compared to eight in Texas since 1967. Only about 850 whooping cranes remain.