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Miller man ordered to pay $85,000 for killing whooping crane

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A South Dakota man has been sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $85,000 for killing an endangered whooping crane.

Jeff Blachford, of Miller, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to one count of violating the Federal Endangered Species Act.

Authorities say the 26-year-old Blachford shot and killed an adult male whooping crane in April 2012 about 17 miles southwest of Miller.

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest birds in the world with a total population of about 600.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno ordered Blachford to forfeit the rifle he used to kill the whooping crane and stripped him of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in the United States for two years.

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