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Donations Flow to Operation Migration

Break-in, crane shooting, emergency landing spur donors to help

A shot of the in-flight migration from Operation Migration’s Crane Cam.

December 17, 2009 — Private donors have responded tremendously to the unusual string of bad luck experienced this fall by Operation Migration (OM) as the organization leads a flock of whooping cranes on a 1,285-mile migration route from their summer grounds in Wisconsin to Florida.

This year OM has faced additional challenges: A break-in to their Necedah, Wisconsin, facility in October caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to two aircraft wings along with some theft of personal property; an adult crane was shot in Indiana just after Thanksgiving; and in early December two volunteers made an emergency landing in a field which caused substantial damage to their personal aircraft.

In Necedah, two local organizations along with two OM donors have increased the reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the October break-in. In Indiana, Defenders of Wildlife, a national non-profit conservation organization, and the Indiana Turn in a Poacher or a Polluter Program each donated $2,500 to a reward fund initiated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find the person or persons who shot the crane. The additional donations raised the reward amount to $7,500.

The biggest helping hand came from Canada where the concept of assisted migration performed by Operation Migration was researched and developed. Toronto Dominion Bank’s TD Friends of the Environment Foundation donated $15,000 to help cover the costs of the damage to their Wisconsin facility. OM Founder and CEO Joe Duff wrote in the OM daily log on December 17 that they have now received enough money to cover all the damages. Direct donations to the staff and volunteers who lost personal property were also very helpful, since the organization could not cover their losses due to tax laws.

Now OM is asking for folks to stop sending money for the break-in as they feel it would be unethical to accept more than what is required. Duff reminds readers that there are over 300 miles of the migration yet to be sponsored this year and donations to that fund are welcome. The migration, as of December 17, has reached Russlleville, Alabama.

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