A Bradenton bird rescue group has raised $5,000 for information that will lead to an arrest and conviction of a person who shot and killed a Sandhill Crane late last month.
Justin Matthews, founder of Matthews Wildlife Rescue, was contacted by neighbors in the Gates Creek subdivision two weeks ago after neighbors found an injured bird that couldn't fly.
Matthews said he didn't notice a nail was through the younger bird's neck until a vet looked at it.
The bird died after surgery around two weeks ago.
Since then, Matthews has been investigating what happened on his own and found the bird was shot in the same area where a local roofing company was working.
"I compared the nail that came from that bird's neck to a bucket of nails they had matched perfectly."
Matthews rented a metal detector and found numerous other nails and bird feathers in the same area.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating, according to Matthews, but they have not picked up the evidence he told them he had.
"I really got a little more involved that I should have, according to law enforcement," said Matthews.
Now, there are several signs posted in the Gates Creek subdivision asking for any tips to be eligible for a reward.
If you have any information, you can also call the FWC and remain anonymous with any tips.
Sandhill Cranes are a federally protected animal in Florida.
This information is posted on their website:
If you suspect a fish, wildlife, boating, or environmental law violation, report it to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Reward Program: 888-404-FWCC (3922). Cell phone users can reach us at *FWC or #FWC, depending on your service provider.
If your information results in an arrest, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. See Reward Categories for details.