Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking information related to the shooting of a trumpeter swan on Jan. 4 south of Dillon near Poindexter Slough.
Officials released the bird last fall as part of a popular trumpeter swan restoration project underway in the Blackfoot Valley since 2005.
"The loss of this bird is a blow to the many volunteers and organizations working toward the restoration of the trumpeter swan in the Blackfoot Valley," said Tom Hinz, FWP wetlands coordinator, in Bozeman. This is the second swan to be shot illegally since the project began. Another was illegally killed in 2008 near Helmville.
In the past four years, FWP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Blackfoot Challenge have coordinated the release of 83 trumpeter swans in the Blackfoot Valley where thousands of shallow-water areas provide habitat. Each bird is individually marked with a red plastic collar and a series of white numbers and letters identifying it. Over the course of the project, 17 of the swans have been found dead from a variety of causes, including contact with power lines, unknown and natural causes and the two that were illegally shot.
"We hope to have our first pair of nesting trumpeter swans in the Blackfoot this summer," Hinz said. "These recent losses are not expected to impact that goal, but if they continue, the losses could substantially delay achieving a self-sustaining, nesting flock of trumpeter swans in the Blackfoot."
The public is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (800-847-6668), or FWP Warden Rick Schmauch at 406-683-4258, with information about the death of the trumpeter swan or activities that may relate to it in the vicinity of Poindexter Slough on Jan. 4.
Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1000 with the conviction of those responsible for this crime.