This is one of the three Whooping Cranes shot and killed in Georgia after they left Tennessee. The reward for information leading to the conviction of whoever did this has increased to over $20,000 through donations. There are only about 400 whooping cranes left in the wild and in one act someone has wiped out more than 3% of the Eastern population. .
In its presentation to the TWRA Commission on its proposal for hunting Sandhill Cranes, the FWS stated that the population that migrates through Tennessee (93 birds left) is classified by them as "non-essential" and that they do not have the same level of endangered species protection as the western population. They also stated that they cannot guarantee that whooping cranes will not be shot accidentally and that no action is taken against someone who claims that they killed a whooping crane accidentally.
Here is what these birds looked like in happier days. Note the juvenile coloration in both pictures.
Here's the Eastern Population report from last October.